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Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex and Title IX Paperback – November 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1893554801 ISBN-10: 1893554805

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554801
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Steve Hayleck on May 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For those that want to understand what has truly gone wrong with title ix interpretations, read this book. For others that refuse to believe that the media has been duped into believing that the application of gender quotas in academia is only for the good it doesn't matter what they read.
Jessica Gavora provides a well-written book that describes, in detail, what happens when well-intentioned federal legislation is molded by those with an agenda. The result is a policy that forces addition by subtraction in athletics. Males are routinely eliminated from sports, with few additional women's opportunities created. All in the name of "gender equity."
The carnage of lost opportunities, for both genders, is appalling to those of us closely familiar with college athletics. This book is destined to become classic reading for anyone who wants to know the truth.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Domenech on May 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Those other reviewers obviously didn't read the book. Gavora puts together a solid and interesting argument about Title IX and gender bias in the college sports arena -- don't just dismiss her position off-hand because you disagree.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By phimseto on May 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jessica Gavora's "Tilting the Playing Field" is a provocative look at Title IX from a different perspective. The book is provocative because, in analyzing and criticizing the measure and its effect, it calls into question the value of American feminist orthodoxy. This is the book's strongest and most attractive feature - Gavora's willingness to speak candidly and in strong terms against policies so vaunted that attacking them is considered taboo.
It should be pointed out that "Tilting the Playing Field" is by no means an objective analysis. Gavora, having observed and studied Title IX, has a point to make and this book is the presentation of the facts as she sees it, coupled with her analysis and conclusions. Because her opinions are out of step with the driving philosophy behind Title IX, other reviewers have found it easy to avoid the argument and dismiss the messenger as a monolithic right-winger. For any prospective reader, this would be a foolish mistake. The value of reading this book, or any book with an ideological leaning, is to enrich one's own views by challenging beliefs and seeing issues from different viewpoints. In that regard, the most important aspect of a book like this is its accuracy.
"Tilting the Playing Field" succeeds on that account. The statistics are not flashy, nor are they manipulated or false. They are simply laid out as a foundation for Gavora's dissertation on the subject matter, and it is in her thesis and opinions that we can expect to find our own agreement, skepticism, anger, or insight. The book works as a solid, well-expressed and well-researched opinion against much of what Title IX has become, as opposed to what it was meant to be. Whether you agree or disagree, are closely associated with a higher education setting, or even if you are just a liberal or conservative, this is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in both sides of the story.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
These "comically slanted" reviews point out once again that when confronted by fair and balanced reporting, those whose agenda is threatened will attack and attempt to discredit the source of their discomfort rather than offer a thoughtful rebuttal. Obviously, Gavora's book runs counter to their agenda with her well-documented examination of the "unintended consequences" of a law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex under federally funded education programs. While giving credit to Title IX, she shows why this law has outlived its usefulness. For the women's movement to really gain ground, she points out, credit for accomplishment should be given to a woman's talent, hard-work and dedication instead of diminishing that success by shackling it to a federal mandate. She contrasts the original intent of the law with what it has become. This is not just a critique of the female to male ratio quota in college sports, but a warning of what will happen as Title IX moves across the whole of education, into the classrooms, student testing and sexual harassment law. It's a frightening numbers game with an ominous forecast. If we mandate an equal number of female athletes to male athletes, why not the same quota system for all areas traditionally holding more interest for men than for women?
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a brave and searching book. The author has revealed one of the dirty litte secrets of the current sports scene--how hardline feminists, who could give a fig about athletes or athletics, have seized control of the amateur sports scene in this country through Title IX. This law began as a good thing: insuring equal opportunity to participate. But like affirmative action, whose kissing cousin it is, Title IX has become a nasty little gender maneuver whose ultimate consequence, as Gavora documents so indisputably, is the death of one college men's sports program after another so that women, who choose not to participate in numbers equal to their growing percentage of college enrollment, can have "proportionality."
Gavora shows, moreover, that Title IX had nothing to do with the U.S. Women's Soccer team's victory over China, nor with the superb play of the WNBA. This is an important book that ought to be read be everyone who is tempted to repeat the brainwashed mantras about how Title IX has helped women. It ought to be read also by anyone frightened, as I am, by the hardline feminists' growing use of Title IX in education (if we have to have exactly the same number of men and women athletes, why not exactly the same number of mathematicians and physicists?) and the growth industry of sex harrassment.
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