Certain men in sports are on a roll lately, right back to the 18th century, by daring to proclaim that women should be paid less than men for the same sport.
Former "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson, who was definitely not joking, wrote a column for The Sun to find new ways to belittle female athletes.
The only people, according to Clarkson, who come to watch these matches are immediate family members of the players and "sexual deviants" because, of course, women playing any sport is a strongly sexual act.
He then repeated the same misogynist argument used to justify the fact that women are grossly underpaid in sports, as in all other fields. Citing the example of tennis, he said it was fair for men to be paid more because spectators paid more to watch the men’s finals at Wimbledon than the women’s championship.
Apparently deciding that he had not yet used up his annual quota for misogynist statements, Clarkson advised people who bemoan male athletes raking in more cash than their female counterparts to stay quiet, otherwise they “will be hung from a lamppost and pelted with used feminine hygiene products until the end of time.”
But it is not just Clarkson who decided to put his sexist views out in the open. Former tennis player and CEO of a huge tournament, Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore, said women players "hang on the coattails of men." For good, sexist measure, he added, "If I was a lady player, I'd go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport."
Novak Djokovic also decided to relinquish the title of heartthrob and asked to be paid more than his female counterparts because he is a man and needs to reassert his masculinity every once in a while. His claims were quickly countered by Serena Williams, who corrected him and said that the tickets for women’s matches were sold earlier than men’s.
This kind of everyday-sexism is pervasive in every sport.
The International Cricket Council is organizing two major tournaments right now, the T20 World Cup. But while male athletes were flown to the venue in business class, women were assigned the economy class. Reason given? Men bring in much more revenue than women. If that is the case, perhaps ICC should consider allowing only commercially viable teams like Australia and England, and players like Chris Gayle, to fly in business class.
Let’s get one thing clear. Women’s sports are in no way less exciting or challenging than the ones played by men.
Still the best explanation of women's vs men's sport I've ever seen: pic.twitter.com/gVOuRzBDQg— Anna (@werna_) July 6, 2015
Women train equally hard, and sometimes harder, than men for sports. Female athletes not only brave injuries and bouts of bad performance, but also battle societal stereotypes, lack of funding and guidance, and disdain from the authorities. Maybe it’s time to #BackOurGirls?
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Suzanne Plunkett