Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hooray for Editors Like This One

If you want to read a great takedown, check out this editorial response to a reader from who complained that his local newspaper, the Bristol (Virginia) Herald-Courier, was providing too much coverage of women's softball. Apparently the guy did not like the "giant color photos" and "two page articles" about college softball, a sport that "bore[s] [him to] tears" and that he compares to little league and the level of athleticism of 12-year-old boys.

Opinion editor Andrea Hopkins responds,

Who knows what prompted Lowry to show his true misogynistic colors to the world? Perhaps it scored him some points among his buddies as they gather to watch baseball or football from their recliners and relive the glory days of their youth.

Female athletes do not need his assent; our numbers are strong and growing.

She then goes on to detail the rise in women's participation in athletics in the Title IX era, recognizing that it's still an unlevel playing field. She continues,

Yet, Lowry’s ilk would dismiss the whole concept of women in sports. Worse, he’d banish them from the sports section – leaving a younger generation of girls without appropriate role models of health and physical activity. Thank God, he isn’t in charge.

It would be tempting to dismiss his letter as the writings of one cranky local resident, but there’s a growing movement to undo the very laws that helped women get a foot in the gym door.

She then goes on to decry the efforts of Title IX "reformers" who seem to capitalize on the popular mythology that Title IX is hurting men's sports. Hopkins addresses this argument head on, pointing out that men's sport overall are doing just fine, and that those particular sports that have seen a decline in numbers are victims to our cultural preferences for football over other sports.

Good job, Andrea Hopkins. It's too bad more people who write for newspapers don't have this kind of grasp on truth and fairness.


Gender Blank said...

Hooray for Andrea Hopkins! Where do I send the muffin basket?

Reminds me of Messner's The Female Athlete as Contested Ideological Terrain. People like Lowry can't even reconcile "female" and "athlete," so it's no wonder he doesn't want to read about women's softball. It hurts him cognitively.

EBuz said...

"It hurts him cognitively" -- Well put, GB!