I saw a link to commentary and discussion on Lia Thomas competing in women’s NCAA swimming this week, winning one event, and being the target of protests. Some commentators are on the unfair! bandwagon. A lot of people see that–not just the Fox News crew. I read a trans commentator expressing some disappointment and mixed feelings. I read quotes from three Olympic silver medalists finishing behind Lia in the 500m event: they were moderately supportive.
I think concern for women in sports is well-considered. I’d expect someone expressing that view would be supportive of things like comparable pay, and for college athletics, comparable facilities and advertising where parallel men’s and women’s events are concerned.
I think concern might also be extended to other unequal competitive situations. In the US, school-based sports find an occasional person with dominant physical presence. Suppose a middle school basketballer is six to eight inches taller than teammates and opposition, and has the skills of a high schooler? Is that fair? Maybe in the more violent contact sports like football: if a person has significant more bulk, strength, and speed they can’t exactly be promoted to the big time, like we see in European sports like soccer. There, it’s not unheard-of for a teen to compete in a professional game.
I’ve expressed the opinion here before that in soccer (for example) women probably should be paid more than the men. They are, in the American tradition, winners. For the men, success has been harder to achieve. If women were promoted with the same diligence as men, I suspect they would be a bigger draw for attendance, marketing, and such.
One commentary I read suggested that it’s not contrary to promote the life and activities of trans persons and be worried about competition for cisgendered women. That strikes me as true.
On one Catholic site, though, the comments veered to the personal. I think older pseudonymous adults have no place offering public opinions and speculation on younger people. Adolescents, certainly. College students, I tend to think the unequal situation between admitted adults–younger people yet to really mature and other who, presumably, are old enough to be in an unequal situation.
“I’d expect someone expressing that view would be supportive of things like comparable pay, and for college athletics, comparable facilities and advertising where parallel men’s and women’s events are concerned.”
I think that, if you were to look outside of social media, you’d be more likely to find that is the case. Liberal to progressive commenters on stories touching on these topics in national mainstream newspaper organs like WaPo and NY Times tend to fit that bill (and have tended to list strongly in the direction of opposition/concern about, rather than approval of, this; enough that it’s apparent the Times, which editorially leaned heavily in assuming reader favor, has noticeably stepped back from trying to engineer approval/acceptance), and there are far more of them there than right-wing trolls.
One of my two older sisters who is to the left of Bernie Sanders and BIPOC rights just three days ago expressed how adamantly furious she is about Lia Thomas and others like her in sports where the sex divide is salient in performance. (My sister was athletic at a time before womens’ sports got substantial benefits from Title IX, and feels that keenly and personally.)