In the tradition of Who Stole Feminism?
and Christina Hoff Sommers, Jessica Gavora offers a devastating account of feminism gone haywire. For more than a generation, liberal women's groups have used a piece of federal civil rights legislation called Title IX to expand opportunities for women to play sports in college. In a classic case of unintended consequences, however, they've wrought enormous damage on men's sports programs. The cost of complying with Title IX has led to the abolition of hundreds of men's sports programs, including some heralded ones. In 1993, for instance, UCLA dropped its men's swimming and diving teams, which had produced 16 Olympic gold medalists. This is all done in the name of sexual "proportionality"--the supposed iniquity of men playing sports more than women. Gavora is a good writer and a perceptive critic who notes an exquisite irony: "Whereas in every other area of life, from the military to the boardroom to the bedroom, women's rights activists have insisted that women be allowed to compete in the same arena with men, Title IX activists have worked in athletics to protect women's special status.... On this narrow score, difference is accepted." Gavora also points out that Title IX radicalism won't halt at the edge of the sporting field; it's now stepping into new areas, including school harassment policies, student testing, and math and science achievement--anywhere males and females don't conform to feminist expectations of gender equity. Tilting the Playing Field
is an excellent book on an important subject, and will appeal to right-leaning readers who dissent from feminist orthodoxy. --John Miller
Gavora's Tilting the Playing Field
tackles weighty questions surrounding the controversial issue of gender equity in collegiate sports. She makes much of the fact that Title IX doesn't specifically address sports, and she notes that the often-invoked premise that a school's sports program should reflect the male-female ratio of its student body is not in line with what Title IX was designed to provide. As long as such a ratio gap is not based on any discriminatory practices, it is not in violation of any equity legislation. What many Title IX activists fail to take into account, Gavora says, is that, in many schools, there are more men interested in sports than there are women. Title IX, the author believes, has been so disastrously twisted and abused that it no longer is used to do the thing it was designed to do: redress genuine cases of discrimination. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved