Monday, January 15, 2007

Right-Wing Fruitcakes Still After Title IX

The inimitable Michelle Akers [1999 World Cup]
Michelle Akers powers past her way past Brazil. She would later convert a penalty to seal her side's 2-0 semi-final triumph.
Copyright: / Brett Whitesell / Daniel Motz

Great, great article on Title IX in, of all places, a British paper, The Guardian (uk).

Steven Wells, Guardian (uk) Sportsblog: Why American sports are facing the ultimate Title fight
The Title IX law has been eroding sex discrimination in the US for 35 years, so it's no wonder the right-wing fruitcakes want to get rid of it.

Thirty-five years ago President Nixon signed Title IX - a 37-word law that banned sex discrimination in federally funded education. It revolutionised US sports, changed the lives of millions of women and girls, led to the formation of a professional women's baseball league and to the US women's soccer team winning two World Cups.

More importantly, Title IX smashed to smithereens the creaky old idea that sport is somehow inherently masculine. There are 10 times as many women playing high school sports as there were in 1972. Five times as many women now play sport in college.

And beyond the statistics, there's overwhelming anecdotal evidence that Title IX is the best thing ever to happen to US sports. "When I was growing up throwing slow balls in baseball-crazed Southern Illinois," writes Hank Shaw. "I didn't know a single girl in my class who was active in sports. Fast forward to the present: six of my seven nieces love playing sports. That's all the proof I need to cheer on Title IX."

Title IX has achieved "an explosion of female Olympic stars, college and professional women's teams playing to packed stadiums, new magazines aimed at female athletes. But most of all the freedom, strength and joy of a whole generation of young women," wrote Ruth Conniff in the Nation.

In short Title IX is the bee's knees, the cat's pyjamas and the bollocks of the most enormous dog. As good things go it's up there with love, rainbows and orgasms.

Which means, of course, that it's attacked relentlessly by the gibbering jihadists of right-wing fruitcakery. Bush administration employee Jessica Gavora - former speechwriter to Newt Gingrich, John Ashcroft and Roberto Gonzalez - slammed Title IX as "affirmative androgyny" (as if that would be a bad thing). Anne Coulter - right-wing über-troll and self-confessed fan of Joe McCarthy - described Title IX as "the ultimate totalitarian folly", "crazed feminist social engineering" and an "insane feminist dream ... to change nature".


[t]he heart of all the arguments against Title IX [is] the somewhat Victorian notion that sport is strictly for people with penises.
Thirty-five years on, the really amazing thing about Title IX is that it's still going strong. Still forcing schools and colleges not to fob female athletes off with second-rate equipment and facilities. Still inspiring girls to do something more than just wave pom-poms on the sidelines. Still changing the world one pony-tailed midfielder at a time.

Happy birthday, Title IX.

Like the right-wing fruitcakes who oppose having cheerleaders cheer for both boys and girls games. Why is that controversial?

Winnie Hu (I kid you not), NYTimes: Equal Cheers for Boys and Girls Draw Some Boos

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