Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Messner & Solomon on Men's Interests in the Title IX Discourse
Dr. Michael Messner, a sociology professor at USC, and Nancy Solomon, the former senior staff attorney of the California Women's Law Center, analyze Title IX discourse in the current issue of the Journal of Sport and Social Issues (v. 31, n. 2, pp. 162-78, May 2007). Specifically, they examine the testimony in support of men's athletics at one of the public hearings sponsored by the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics in 2002. Messner and Solomon observe that advocates for men's athletics generally praised Title IX and characterized their objections as relating only to its "unintended consequences" for minor men's sports. The arguments raised within this theme (e.g., that Title IX hurts walk-ons, that men are naturally more interested in sports, that Title IX harms minority athletes) exemplify how male athletes in "marginalized" sports articulate their objections to Title IX in a way that supports the interest of the powerful men's sports (football and basketball) -- despite the fact that those sports are demonstrably more threatening to other men's sports than Title IX. Though it is not rational for marginalized male athletes to take positions that support the interests of football and basketball, the authors suggest that they do so because men are generally seeking to secure the gender order, which is threatened by not only by Title IX but by the entire "liberal state."