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What’s possible – and what is not

One of the Rust’s regular topics returned to the top table this week with Tom Hollingworth’s piece yesterday on the ‘woke’ BBC’s slavish craven politically-correct devotion to the promotion of women in sport presumably under the guise of ‘equality of opportunity’.

Inevitably, this cack-handed scheme has as many logical holes in it as a slice of Emmental cheese, of which I now present but a few of the nonsensical presumptions it makes:

One of the running themes in the general (feminist) sense of outrage at the hitherto primarily-male dominated world of sport as loved and media-exposed around the globe throughout history is that in it women are wrongly and unfairly reduced to being judged primarily by their looks, sexual attractiveness, body shape and condescendingly misogynistic assumptions that they neither understand the culture and – in many cases rules – of particular sports.

Yes, it is a general fact of sport – and life – that attractive people tend to get noticed more that your average Joe (or Jill) member of the public like you and me.

So what?

I don’t get irritated or resentful that for example, in my personal experience, when otherwise sane, sassy, intelligent, strong, proud, single-minded females – in a relationship or not – aged [and okay I’m old and have little current exposure to females younger than this] anywhere from 30 upwards instantly go weak-at-the-knees and begin dribbling, squint-eyed in concentration whilst purring or muttering in deep with-intent tones about exactly what they’d like get up to with him in the sack (if ever such an opportunity arose) whenever an image of George Clooney appears on the television or in a magazine or newspaper.

I just envy the bugger.

My point is this. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the heady delights of ‘celebrity, fame and fortune’ tend to fall most often to those who are talented at what they do and also attractive.

Ask yourself why, say, the likes of Maria Sharapova have earned more than other perhaps equally-talented and successful ladies who happened to be less genetically-gifted in the looks department?

And what’s more, out there is the land of the general public, these things matter as much to female onlookers – and frankly, sometimes more – than they do to male.

It’s a fact of life that overwhelmingly the biggest critics of the looks, clothes-sense, size and style of women who appear in the public eye and on television are female.

An extreme example of the importance of looks in terms of commercial success would be Anna Kournikova.

I hope I’m not being unkind to her or indeed other female tennis players when I re-heat my belief that – despite being (perhaps a bottom-of-the-table) world class exponent of the game, she never became one of the greats – and yet in her ‘fleeting moment’ in the world sporting spotlight she probably earned three times more than any of the Top Ten female players then in the game.

What do the PC-police have us to do?

Pool all prize-money in every sport and fork it out to each participant equally as some sort of communistic attempt to ensure than nobody is discriminated against?

I think not.

But let’s stick with tennis for a moment.

The “promote female sport” line seems to go along these lines:

Okay, Roger Federer makes zillions via the wheeze of being born ridiculously talented and then working night and day for years to develop his game, eating the right food, planning his annual campaigns and being fiercely competitive enough to dominate in a field of hundreds of equally competitive opponents to become an all-time great tennis player.

Ergo, his female equivalent of the moment should also be entitled to zillions. This on the basis of the general thrust that women generally are consigned to lesser pay, even when they are doing the same job.

Which, of course, is to deny to fundamental trusim of life that you only ever get paid what you can persuade someone you’re worth, which the feminists amongst us seek to deflect by the argument that only ‘lack of opportunity’ holds them back from true equality between the sexes.

I don’t buy that simply because ultimate sporting excellence between the genders is affected by the inherent imbalance between them in terms of strength, size and power.

In sport this difference between the sexes is accommodated in a range of different ways.

Historically in tennis – for the most part – their competitions are run together or alongside each other (e.g. at Grand Slam events).

The ruse is distorted by the notions that firstly, if female tennis tournaments were by law mounted separately to men’s, my penny to a pound would be on the expectation that women’s events would be far less popular and commercially successful than they are… and secondly, the counter-intuitive device that – increasingly these days, thanks to the efforts of the PC-lobby – women’s prize-money is equal to the men’s, despite the inescapable facts they play only best-of-three sets opposed to the men’s best-of-five; that the number of professional female players is a fraction of the men’s; and also that the gulf in quality between the Top Ten women and the rest is several-canyons-large whereas in the men’s the position is demonstrably different.

When it comes to football and the current women’s World Cup now taking place in France, the conundrum is arguably exposed in all its glory.

You can dress it up anyway you want, feature it live on the television at peak viewing time with a BBC production presenting it as if it is just as important, complex and thrilling as the men’s game – and yet still (to use the expression I understand is currently in vogue) it is and was only ever going to be “what it is”.

For me, the key issues are not necessarily part of the same problem.

In a modern era in which increasing obesity and sedentary lifestyles are causing a mountain of health and other problems to mount up – when it comes to women, anything that promotes youngsters in the direction of exercise and activity is without doubt a good thing.

I have no problem with that.

But I do recoil slightly from the line that any female sports star or team, even if they be the best female exponents of that sport in the world, should by some sort of decree – in order to prove that the world generally has embraced the concept that equality between the sexes has finally arrived – necessarily be given exactly the same attention and pay as their male equivalents.

Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I’m afraid that this sort of thing comes down to how exciting the fare being putting on for the entertainment of the public at large actually is … and indeed how much they’re prepared to pay for it.

It’s called commercial reality.

And, as a final pay off, another fact of the matter is that without doubt – despite the modern fashion for fitness and dieting – a huge proportion (date I say the majority?) of women are not remotely interested in sport at all.






























About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts