"This needs to stop, and now."

When did sports journalism start hectoring its audience to show more sensitivity? I don't read a lot of it, so maybe I missed it.

My first exposure to Ms. Rousey was in Expendables III. I don't watch television, let alone Pay Per View, so I had no idea who she was when she showed up as the bouncer-turned-mercenary in that movie. Now, movies are fantasy, but she beat the crap out of not just one but a whole horde of men in that film. And, I gather, she does have a dominant record in her sport -- really, quite impressive.

So when the guy said, "that Rousey could beat 50 percent of the male bantamweights in the UFC," I'd take that less as an expression of her superlative glory and more as an empirical claim. Can she? Can she beat any of them?

The author apparently feels the answer is definitely not, and having to admit that takes away from all she's accomplished.

But why don't we ask her? Does she want to try?

In related news, the Army announced this week that it's opening 4,100 new Special Operations jobs to women, including 18 Bravo (Special Forces Weapons Sergeant) and other positions long considered the last redoubt of men. I presume women will have to compete for these jobs in some manner. If we agree that it's insulting even to suggest an equal competition with men to the finest female fighter America has ever produced, doesn't that say something about what will be necessary to fill these positions with women?

I'm told I need to stop talking about this. And now.

UPDATE: Ms. Rousey says she thinks it's at least possible that she could beat every male bantamweight. That's admirable self-confidence, and given her record she's earned the right to some self-confidence. Let her try.


Anonymous said...

Feminism is anti western civilization.
It hates men, children and family.
The only thing that comes as a result
of feminism, is that its adherents
die hateful, old, single, wrinkled,
and barren.

In other words, they create hell on
earth for themselves.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Sports is entertainment, and only exists as an expression of our mythologies. It is always about the wily old pro trying to stave off the talented young upstart, and the gritty, determined kid with less talent who makes his way to the championship by sheer will. The rules of each sport are arbitrary (except perhaps track), and were they tweaked even a little, each would have at least somewhat different stars, and a different population of who could make a living at it.

Once a sport's rules are in place, the unforgiving nature of competition becomes real. Your score more points than your opponent or you don't. Chris Evert, when she was ranked #1 in the world used to talk about her brother, ranked #140 among men, always beat her handily.

These two aspects of sport are distinct, but we always pretend they aren't. Because mythology is less fun when you name it out loud. Our current society wants to add the myth of female warriors, a less-common but not unknown narrative in other times and places. It's part of the women-can-do-anything-men-can-do narrative, which we have decided we will live by, true or not.

As to special forces, the trend is indeed worrying. My son who just finished Basic in December learned a lot about what women can't (or won't) do but you're not allowed to say it. Well, that's an adult lesson for a boy to learn. Life isn't fair. Deal with it.

We can only hope that the psychological benefit outweighs the physical loss. The Israelis have made the calculation that it is worth it for the society as a whole to have enormous citizen involvement, including female combat presence, in its military, despite the resulting lack of professionalism. I read more than one report suggesting that Afghani women observing armed, confident females in the US forces made a deep impression. I don't know if that's true or just wishful thinking.

Grim said...

I think "the only thing that comes out of it is anger and barrenness" is a little strong, although I've seen that happen a few times with a few people.

What concerns me is the point AVI is after. His son learned an important lesson about the way in which men and women are different that, by the same token, the women doubtless did not learn. We as a society are chasing a fantasy whatever it costs in reality, and we punish those who pay the cost (and therefore notice the cost) for mentioning it.

Sure, of course she can beat a man or every man in the movies. Do we still realize that's a fantasy? Insofar as we do, we're told, we need to stop talking about it. Now.

Tom said...

I've started calling this phenomenon 'argument ad Hollywood,' though I'm sure the Latin is wrong.

Grim said...

The claim was she could take 50% of the class. Pick somebody from the bottom half -- anyone she wants. Let's see if that empirically works out. If not, it should be informative for our understanding of what's really going on in introducing women into these roles. After all, we're not going to hold the weight classes steady in real combat. There's no guarantee a female analog will pair off against a 135 pound man and not a 205 pound man. And that's true for load bearing, the number of grenades and amount of ammunition you can carry, let alone should you end up in hand to hand combat in some dusty Syrian city.

james said...

We design some sports which demand qualities men, on the average, have in greater amount than women: speed and strength in particular. Then certain of us get our panties in a wad because men are better at the sport than women. But that's true by construction; why the surprise? If they don't like the results, why not design some different sports?

The article you linked smells like manufactured controversy to me, but I run into plenty of people who can't notice what's in front of their eyes. "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them." And everybody wants to be an intellectual...