Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Want Fewer Women's Olympic Events

B and I have been watching the Olympics in the evenings lately. We watch it online (Singaporean coverage is mostly focused on ping-pong or "paddling", one of the few sports they are good at), which is very convenient as then there are no commercials. My favorite sports are gymnastics and track & field (which apparently goes by the name Athletics, weird), but I enjoy watching most of the events, even the more obscure ones like fencing and BMX biking.

We've been having a debate though. I think that they should have fewer women's events, because women are inferior at most sports. I don't enjoy watching watered-down versions of men's events like weightlifting (or even cycling, to be honest). It seems like just another example of how femininity is devalued, with the women we are encouraged to admire being just somewhat inferior versions of men: I wrote a while ago about how much I hate this. If there is really interest in watching female athletes, then they ought to participate in events which play to women's natural physical advantages, like endurance and flexibility (one of the reasons I like gymnastics is because in this sport the men's and women's events are completely different, for this very reason).

B doesn't agree: he likes the women's events equally, because to him the interesting aspect of the Olympics is the hard work and passion of the athletes. The women's inferiority in results is undeniable, but they do work just as hard (and desire to win just as much) as the men. He also thinks that since there are many women who enjoy male-oriented sports (even if they are a small percentage of the entire female population), the Olympics provide them with an important outlet, especially given the frequent societal discouragement these women face.

Maybe I am just sexist. What do you think?


  1. I'm siding with your husband on this one. I enjoyed watching the women perform simply because I marvel at how driven these people are to devote their lives and bodies to whatever sport they are competing in. I don't really care that they're inferior to men in some sport because I still can appreciate their accomplishments as something I could never ever ever do. It does suck that women will never quite get the scores/times of men in certain sports, but it's the way of the world and I'm okay with it.

  2. I think the real question to be seriously considered is whether there should be equestrian events in the Olympics (such as dressage, which no one had ever heard of before Romney). I say definitely not.

    1. I totally agree! Actually I could write pages about the inclusion of sports that don't merit it (like the ridiculous ribbon dancing. What's up with that??) and the exclusion of others that do (like why no surfing? It's cool to watch, difficult, and popular globally). B and I had so much fun discussing how we would redesign the Olympic sports.

      Including horses as Olympians is probably the most ridiculous example though.