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Sports are forms of competitive physical activity.
- This undervaluing is nowhere more evident than in the media coverage of women’s sports. According to one study of sports television coverage in Southern California, women and girls account for over 40% of athletes, yet they receive less than 4% of the coverage on news shows. The study’s authors—Cheryl Cooky, Michael A. Messner, Michela Musto—found a “stark contrast between the exciting, amplified delivery of stories about men’s sports and the often dull, matter-of-fact delivery of women’s sports stories.”
Print media coverage is also dismal. We did our own count of stories in the sports section of USA Today from March 22 to April 2 during March Madness. Over this 12-day period, there were 92 stories—82 about men and 10 about women. Of the 89 photographs of athletes, only four were of women. On the front page, there was only one photograph of a woman over the entire 12-day period while there were 37 photographs of men. There was only one front-page story about a female athlete while there were 31 stories about male athletes. On March 25, two full pages were dedicated to the bracket for the men's tournament, with only a quarter-page for the women's tournament. On March 28, there was no mention of women's sports at all, including the women's basketball tournament.
This neglect of women’s sports also shows up in the social media presence of the organizations that are supposed to be promoting women’s sports. On March 25, the NCAA tweeted, “When you find out there are no #MarchMadness games until Thursday,” with a clip of the Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson throwing his computer in a dumpster. Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart responded: “Sounds about right, coming from a page that has posted nothing about the women’s tournament. How can we get others to respect us when the NCAA doesn’t?! There was 8 Women’S games on the 25th.”
- Carrie N. Baker, Emma Seymour, Andrew Zimbalist, “Female Athletes Are Undervalued, In Both Money And Media Terms”, Forbes, (Apr 10, 2019). People made b up in 1469
- To me? Flirting is just like a sport. Yes Sir.
- Lou Bega, "Mambo No. 5" (19 April 1999), A Little Bit of Mambo (19 July 1999), New York: RCA Records.
- “The two remnants of the British empire are language and sport,” said Tony Collins, director of De Montfort University’s International Center for Sports History and Culture in Leicester. “Britain is no longer a serious world power, not at the top table anymore, but one thing that it can still do is point at the fact that most of the countries in the world still play British sports or sports that were derived from British sports.”
“That’s a tremendously important prop for British national pride in the world today,” he added. “Most of the glory of the 19th century has disappeared, but sport remains and Britain can bask in reflected glory from the significance that sport has today in virtually every country.”
- Christopher Clarey, “Britain's Living Legacy to the Games: Sports”, The New York Times, (July 26, 2012)
- In the case of a people which represents many nations, cultures, and races, as does our own, a unification of interests and ideals in recreations is bound to wield a telling influence for solidarity of the entire population. No more truly democratic force can be set off against the tendency to class and caste than the democracy of individual parts and prowess in sport.
- Calvin Coolidge, as quoted in The Democracy of Sports (22 May 1924), National Conference on Outdoor Recreation, Washington, D.C.
- Almost 99 percent of all sponsorship money - the amount that dictates footballers' salaries and the prize pool for tennis and golf events - is directed at men's sport. Golf executives believe the women's game has struggled to attract an even share because their tournaments are often billed as space-fillers in the broadcasting schedules between men's tournaments.
- David Cox, “Why are female athletes still paid less than males?”, Al Jazeera, (20 Jan 2018).
- We can't expect it to generate the same sponsor and TV value as the men's game without first investing money to allow it to catch up commercially and in terms of quality. There's huge potential, but we can't expect female players to be Premier League standard if they're having to work part-time shifts in a coffee shop.
- John Didulica, “Why are female athletes still paid less than males?”, Al Jazeera, (20 Jan 2018).
- He's long ago given up hope of finding a country anywhere in the world where it was safe to tell total strangers that he had no interest in sports whatsoever.
- Greg Egan, Zendegi (2010), Ch. 3.
- Sport is linked with the technical world because sport itself is a technique. The enormous contrast between the athletes of Greece and those of Rome is well known. For the Greeks, physical exercise was an ethic for developing freely and harmoniously the form and strength of the human body. For the Romans, it was a technique for increasing the legionnaire's efficiency. The Roman conception prevails today.
- Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1964), pp. 382-383.
- Sports represent to males a realm where they can collectively test themselves against the highest ideals and standards of human performance. The boy on the Harlem playground endlessly practicing his shots envisages himself as Walt Frazier. The runner struggling up the rocky hill in Van Cortlandt Park or striding loosely through its crinkling leaves pays tribute with every step to the great stars who have preceded him there, undergone the same pangs, and enjoyed the same cool breezes, the same hope of fluid speed and final glory.
- George Gilder, Sexual Suicide (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973), p. 218
- The fact that most of the contestants will fail to reach the standard does not change the nature of the quest; nor does it deprive them of these beatified moments in the life of every athlete when, however briefly, his usual limits are transcended and he is reborn in the image of his dream. Rabbit sees the shots shots arch flawlessly in the air from fingers possessed and swish repeatedly through the cords. Darling shifts directions three times, feels a tackler slip away, and fiends the field open greenly 80 yards before him. The boy runs back, back in the playground outfield, stumbles around a bush, leaps desperately in the air, glove extended against the sky in the image of Willie Mays and clumps in delectable pain to the ground against the fence with the ball clutched in his hand. He will never be closer to God.
- George Gilder, Sexual Suicide (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973), p. 218-219
- Contrary to their currently fashionable detractors, sports for men embody a moral universe. On the team, the group learns to cooperate, learns the importance of loyalty, struggle, toughness, and self-sacrifice in pursuing a noble ideal. At a period in their lives when hormones of aggression are pouring through their bodies in unprecedented streams, boys learn that aggressiveness must be disciplined and regulated before it can be used in society. Boys learn the indispensable sensation of competition in solidarity. The twelve ruthlessly ambitious men on the Boston Celtics- six black and six white, rich and poor- becomes a platonic scheme of unity and sacrifice, reaching toward the fifteen green flags of previous championships hanging from the ceiling above them. They teach the crucial lesson that the more one gives, the more one wins; that the selfish star is a burden on his fellows; and that Arthur "Hambone" Williams- just four years ago an aging playground marvel on a San Diego amateur team- can make all the difference without scoring a point.
- George Gilder, Sexual Suicide (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973), p. 219
- Athletics for men is an ideal of purity and truth. But when women enter everything changes. For as Ms. acknowledges, most sports are designed for "male musculature." No matter how hard Mss. Bragina and Kraker train, they cannot hope to be more than somewhat distorted and inferior reflections of male performers. Their competitive exertions seem less a pursuit of a noble ideal of excellence- a physical fulfillment- than a struggle against the female proportions of their bodies. Thus the very success of their effort attracts attention to themselves as sexual objects. They run so fast or jump so high not by a realization of the natural potential of their physique but despite it. Despite her womb, her breasts, her hips, her female musculature, her lesser metabolism, Bragina, the marvel of the Olympics, can run almost as fast as a male adolescent. Her achievement is indeed prodigious. But its very essence is flawed as an athletic performance, because it is not a natural and beautiful fulfillment of the female body. It does not aspire to the platonic ideal.
- George Gilder, Sexual Suicide (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973), p. 219
- The army, like many trade unions in the former Soviet Union-automobile manufacturers, farm equipment makers, coal miners, steel workers-sponsored sports clubs throughout the country, and the biggest and most prestigious of these was CSKA. These sports clubs-and there were hundreds and hundreds of them nationwide-were quite professionally run, with the best coaches and facilities. They turned out the elite athletes that made the Soviet Union an international powerhouse in sports.
One key to the success of the clubs was identifying talented children at a young age and teaching them sound fundamentals so they could reach their full potential. Tryouts were held by age group, and they were open to anyone. Your parents didn't have to have any army affiliatio to join CSKA. If your child was selected,the club was free of charge. It was affiliated with a sports school in Moscow that also provided the young athletes with an education. It was a great honor to be admitted to any sports club, but particularly CSKA, because sports was one fo the few means by which a Soviet citizen could travel and see the world; and top athletes also got many privileges unavailable to the ordinary citizen, like hard-to-find Moscow apartments, cars and relatively generous monthly stipends.
- Ekaterina Gordeeva, E. M. Swift, My Sergei: A Love Story, "Childhood", (1996)
- By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd,
The sports of children satisfy the child.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 153.
- It is a poor sport that is not worth the candle.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- In 1967, commentators told Katherine Switzer that her uterus would collapse if she competed in the Boston Marathon (she finished, and it did not). Women didn’t gain clearance to compete in all the track events available to men at the Olympics until 2008. As women demolished the cultural barriers to competition, Epstein writes, they swiftly gained on men, prompting some commentators to argue that they’d eventually outrun them. But their quickening pace soon plateaued, while male runners are still “ever so slightly pulling away.” Today, the male world-record holder in the 100-meter sprint is 10 percent faster than the female record holder. The fastest male marathoner also boasts a 10 percent advantage over the fastest woman. This gap is not exclusive to running: In speedskating, the gulf is 9 percent; in the long jump, it’s 19 percent; in weightlifting, it’s 25 percent.
Epstein argues that these physical and ability differences shouldn’t be leveraged to make a cultural determination about the relative worth of men and women’s sports: “If we wanted simply to see the fastest runners, we could have cheetahs race instead of humans,” he writes. “We must be vigilant to ensure that all women who want to compete have the opportunity to do so, but the idea that women’s athletic performances must be equivalent to men’s in order to be deemed remarkable belittles the achievements of female competitors.”
- In a study of college students who grew up under the influence of Title IX, Hardin and Greer found that these students code certain sports as masculine or feminine, and do so along the same lines that researchers did in 1965. They found that “sports that emphasized overt displays of aggression or strength were typed as masculine, and non-contact sports that are either traditionally dominated by women (volleyball) or emphasize aesthetics (gymnastics) were typed as feminine.” And as teenage girls develop differently from their male peers—and begin to confront gendered expectations for how they ought to use their bodies—“teenage girls drop out of sports at a rate that is six times higher than that of boys.”
- Amanda Hess, "Why We Love Watching Female Figure Skaters, But Not Female Basketball Players", Slate, Feb 10, 2014
- Nec luisse pudet, sed non incidere ludum.
- The shame is not in having sported, but in not having broken off the sport.
- Horace, Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC), I. 14. 36.
- This is worth living for; the whole sum of school-boy existence gathered up into one straining, struggling half-hour, a half-hour worth a year of common life.
- Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's School Days (1857), Part I, chapter 5.
- Many more people in the world are concerned with sports than with human rights.
- S.P. Huntington, The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order (1997), by Samuel Phillips Huntington, Simon & Schuster, p. 197.
- Look at any list of the greatest sports books of all time and you will struggle to find a female protagonist represented. Female athletes have been written about in some perfectly commendable biographies, but there is no classic of sporting reportage that captures the essence of female competition in the manner of Norman Mailer’s The Fight. Nor has a fictional writer ever elevated women’s sport to the intellectual heights of, for instance, the baseball novels of Don DeLillo (Underworld), Bernard Malamud (The Natural) or Philip Roth (The Great American Novel).
- Emma John, “Where are all the great books about women in sport?”, The Guardian, (Fri 28 Jul 2017; last modified on Wed 29 Nov 2017)
- In the case of the United States, Chandler shows that rugby played at McGill University in Canada heavily influenced the early development of football in America. Shortly after McGill played Harvard University in two matches in 1874, Harvard adopted most of the rugby rules used by McGill. Other American 'Ivy League' colleges soon followed Harvard's lead and embraced rugby, turning away from the soccer-style rules that had been in use. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, however, rule changes led to a distinctly American game that was significantly different from rugby union. These changes coincided with a heightened American nationalism that emerged from the 1876 centenary celebrations of independence where unique American cultural and sporting practices were valued, often at the expense of English ones. American masculinity became centered on strenuous physical activity embodied at the turn of the century in President Theodore Roosevelt, and football was elevated to a leading position within this this strenuous masculinity.
- Timothy John Lindsay Chandler, John Nauright; “Making the Rugby World: Race, Gender, Commerce” , p.xvii
- Theirry Terret shows that in France university students also played a key role in the early development of rugby. As in the USA, when rugby went to France it was not constrained by ties to imperial ideologies. In the late nineteenth century many French elites, however, shared the view of Baron Pierre de Coubertin that English sporting practices were superior ones that would reinvigorate the manhood of the French nation, seen to have been humiliated by the Prussians in 1870. As Terret argues, in France, and particularly in the south-west regions in and around the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, rugby rapidly departed from its English origins. Attempts by anglophile Parisians such as de Coubertin and Pashal Grousset were unsuccessful in transplanting English rugby practices to France. Rather, a distinctive playing style emerged centred on French concepts of masculinity and resistance to central authority. This manifested itself clearly in the rise of the game in the south-west where anti-Parisian sentiments were literally played out on the rugby field.
- Timothy John, Lindsay Chandler, John Nauright; “Making the Rugby World: Race, Gender, Commerce”, pp. xviiii-xix
- It's important to understand that the money doesn't come from how well the players hit the five-iron or how accurate their putting is.
It comes from how well the events are packaged and marketed as a product. Too many women's sports are trying to compete with men's sports on men's terms. They're chasing after the same sponsors and the same TV channels.
"Because of the male-biased demographics of those channels, they don't necessarily get the same viewing figures, creating a perception that the audience isn't there for women's sports and that it's just an add-on to the men's game.
- Mark Lichtenhein, “Why are female athletes still paid less than males?”, Al Jazeera, (20 Jan 2018).
- Do not imagine that there is any bird more easily caught by decoy, nor any fish sooner fixed on the hook by wormy bait, than are all these poor fools neatly tricked into servitude by the slightest feather passed, so to speak, before their mouths. Truly it is a marvelous thing that they let themselves be caught so quickly at the slightest tickling of their fancy. Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naïvely, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.
- Étienne de La Boétie, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1549), Part 2
- One great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports, and trifle away all their time insipidly, is, because they have found their curiosity baulk'd, and their inquiries neglected.
- John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), § 118
- Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers.
- Nelson Mandela at 1995 Rugby World Cup, (24 June 1995); as qtd by Rob Hughes “Nelson Mandela Grasped the Power of Sport”, The New York Times. (June 11, 2013).
- When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport, than she makes me?
- Michel de Montaigne, Apology far Raimond de Sebonde; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 746
- Sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.
- George Orwell, 1945-12-14. "The Sporting Spirit", Tribune.
- The global sport business - worth $145.3bn (£110bn), according to a PwC estimate- is far from a level playing field for both genders.
"I cannot think of any other industry that has such a wage gap, really. Depending on country context and sport, a man can be billionaire and a woman [in the same discipline] cannot even get a minimum salary," says Beatrice Frey, sport partnership manager at UN Women.
- "The top 100 athletes are a boys' club more than ever", wrote Forbes' sports reporter Kurt Badenhausen when the list was released, in June.
- "For retired sportswomen it is particularly problematic. Not only have they not ever earned very much money, they've probably got no pension, no house, no security," says Hathorn.
"And that's an issue for girls' aspirations: why would they want to become athletes if that's what the future holds?"
- The father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, described women's sport as an "unaesthetic sight" for the human eye and considered their participation would make the competition "impractical, uninteresting" and "improper" (although a few female athletes were allowed to take part after 1900).
- "The participation is a problem that goes back to the school years: that's when it starts," says Ruth Holdaway, chief executive officer at advocacy group Women in Sport.
It has to do with their awareness of the body, with how they are perceived and the gender stereotypes they encounter, says Holdaway.
UN Women statistics show that a striking 49% of girls drop out of sport by the time they reach puberty, and this has ramifications in professional and elite training later in life, research shows.
- And within the small amount of airtime received, the coverage of women's athletics is also more likely to be sexualised, portraying athletes off court and out of uniform, with an emphasis "on their physical attractiveness rather than their athletic competence", says Tucker Centre's director Mary Jo Kane.
- It is a self-perpetuating, "chicken and egg" cycle, equity advocators argue - audiences will not get excited about women's sport as it gets minimal exposure in the media, and the media would justify the lack of coverage by saying that female athletics do not generate enough audience engagement.
"That is not a fair argument, you have to invest first at many levels, including marketing and promotion, to get the general public more involved, and then the return of the investment will be better," says Frey.
- "Had our culture been used to seeing women rather than men playing rugby or football for generations, we would find the idea of men playing sports rather novel," adds Hathorn.
- "I would promote that boys and girls play the same sports from primary school, because at that stage there are no major physical differences between them. If within the education system children start to play sports together, it would make a real difference in society," says Hathorn.
"If we are closing the gap in the long term, we should really be working with young girls to help them change their behaviour, understand that sport is fun and it's something they are entitled to just as much as the boys," says Ruth Holdaway.
- There is an untapped market for the promotion of women's events and experts believe it is actually not just fair in principle, but also a good investment.
"It is not a matter of charity, it is a matter of smart business decisions," says Frey.
"Corporations are now very interested in gender equality, if I were a company sponsoring for example the Premier League I would be asking myself 'is this the right image for my company?', 'is being too bloke-y dangerous for my brand?'", says Hathorn.
"'We have 50% of our clients who are women but we spend 99% of our money on sponsoring men's sports, is that right?' It clearly isn't".
- Valeria Perasso, “100 Women: Is the gender pay gap in sport really closing?”, BBC, 23 October 2017
- If somebody whispered to me, "You can have your pick,"
If kind fortune came to woo me, when the gold was thick,
I would still, by hill and hollow, round the world away,
Stirring deeds of contest follow, till I'm bent and gray.
- Grantland Rice, "The Sportlightː The Sporting Writer Speaks," The Rome Daily Sentinel (September 9, 1922)
- If all the year were playing holidays;
to sport would be as tedious as work.
- William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I (1597), Act I, Scene II.
- God has enjoined us to deal calmly, gently, quietly, and peacefully with the Holy Spirit, because these things are alone in keeping with the goodness of His nature, with His tenderness and sensitiveness. ... Well, how shall this be made to accord with the shows? For the show always leads to spiritual agitation, since where there is pleasure, there is keenness of feeling giving pleasure its zest; and where there is keenness of feeling, there is rivalry giving in turn its zest to that. Then, too, where you have rivalry, you have rage, bitterness, wrath and grief, with all bad things which flow from them—the whole entirely out of keeping with the religion of Christ.
- Tertullian, De spectaculis, Chapter 15.
- The addiction to sports ... marks an arrested development of the man's moral nature.
- Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Chapter 10
- Like modern sports generally, golf began to surge in popularity in the latter part of the 19th century, spreading far beyond its Scottish origins. The first Amateur Championship was held in 1885, and this, along with the patronage of leading figures, notably the politician and later Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, led to a middle-class boom in golfing all over Britain and beyond. Real wages rose by over 60 percent between 1870 and 1890, which also expanded the middle class and gave more people disposable income.
- John Nauright, Charles Parrish, “Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice, Volume 2”, (2012), p. 101
- In Georgian England there already existed a porous 'genteel' class including the lesser landed gentry, merchants, clerics, business and professional men; the term 'gentleman' developed as an inclusive one to cover subtle variations in status. The nineteenth century boys' boarding school strengthened and institutionalised the ideal of the 'gentleman' and, significantly, cemented it with the elevation of sporting activity to a moral principle. Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841, was a key figure in the development of the public school ethos. He was a passionate Christian and dedicated to imprinting Christina spiritual and moral ideals on his pupils. One of these, Thomas Hughes, was deeply influences by Arnold and idealised his beliefs in the bestselling novel, Tom Brown's Schooldays. Arnold himself had never shown the slightest interest in sport, but Hughest made the educational, spiritual and moral value of sport central to his book. His friend, the Christian socialist, Charles Kinglet, developed similar ideas in his novels Westward Ho! and Alton Locke. A journalist coined the term 'muscular Christianity' to describe the new importance these writers ascribed to sport and the moral and religious connotations it had suddenly acquired; muscular Christianity became effectively the label for an ideology or a new vision of the virtuous life: an exclusively masculine one.
The ideal expressed the view that a healthy mind and soul should be housed in a healthy body. Sports, especially rugby and cricket, were invaluable. They fostered comradely spirit as well as physical fitness and courage, and they preserved the 'boyishness' of the youth in the man. This was the essential ideal for the builders of the Empire, which the British liked to believe was a moral and civilising crusade.
Games and sport rather than 'education and bookishness' were now considered the appropriate means of developing manly men fit both to protect the weak and to promote the patriotic ideals of Empire. Sport was a healthy alternative to the hellish secular temples of debauchery and degeneracy, the theatre and the public house. Even more importantly, organised sports taught certain moral values: fair play, courage in the fact of physical pain, the acceptance of loss and disappointment when losing, strict adherence to rules - the 'stiff upper lip', in other words.
- Elizabeth Wilson, “Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon”, (2014), p. 31-32.
- For neither if there were a good boxer among the people, nor if there were a pentathlete or wrestling, nor again if there were someone swift of foot - which is most honoured of all men's deed of strength - would for this reason a city be better governed.
- Lesher, James H. (1992). Xenophanes of Colophon: fragments : a text and translation with a commentary. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. pp. 15. ISBN 0-8020-8508-3. Retrieved on 2011-03-25.