Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Wild World of Wednesday: It's Not a Double Standard, It's Just a Man's World
In the spirit of hijacking the regularly shceduled posts lately I bring you this guest opinion in place of the usual Wild World of Wednesday.
Yesterday I had a guest post from Lindsay about double standards in sports. There were comments as I expected but I also received an email with another guest post on the subject.
Mike Southern is the author of Ruthless Putting and he first contacted me to review his book (which will be a later post). Last night, he sent me the following in response to Lindsay's point of view.
Do men treat women differently? Yeah, they do... but not really any differently than they treat older men.
Correction-make that men older than they are. When Tom Watson nearly won the Open Championship a couple of months ago at the age of 59 the reaction of many in the sports media was to question whether golf should be considered a sport at all. That's insecurity talking...what does it say about me if a 60-year old can beat the best names in golf and I can't even hit the fairway?
Every man believes he is youthful and immortal and better than everybody else. Of course, I really am youthful and immortal... but at 51, I've learned that I'm not better than everybody else. I've also learned that it's ok not to be better than everybody else. Being able to accept your limitations, work within them, and respect rather than resent people who surpass you is important to one's personal growth.
My experience is that most men never learn that.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family where both sides had strong male role models who married equally strong women. That's unusual these days; most men aren't so lucky. Rather than growing up secure, they struggle with low self-esteem; and, to my point, if they aren't particularly gifted athletes themselves... well, nobody expects them to match up to a paid male athlete. But watching women with whom they can't compete... are you kidding?!?
Regardless of what the world may say, there is a glass ceiling. Only men live above it, and they constantly work to make it thicker so they can convince themselves that their effort means something. For example, a woman like LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam can make it in business because men spell her name like this: $$$$$$. One woman can succeed without threatening them; in fact, the man who signs the deal with her will be heralded for his marketing savvy. The fact that she gained that value from superior athleticism will not enter into the equation.
This is an issue that will become increasingly important in the golf world for one simple reason: Players like Watson and Sorenstam prove that, although Tiger may play a power game, that's not the only way to win. Eventually it will become apparent that golf is in a unique position to become the first truly "flat playing field" in sport, one where age or sex isn't a deterrent to playing against the best. Already, golfers in their 40s are beginning to ‘show up' at the major tournaments in a way they never have before; and men are watching women players like Lorena Ochoa blast the ball down the fairway, then shaking their heads and muttering, "But she's so small!" Within the next ten years, someone like Michelle Wie (who is 6'1" and capable of tremendous clubhead speed) is going to get her game in shape for the special conditions of the PGA Tour and take it to the men in their own backyard.
And when that happens... well, most men will just turn the TV to a football game. At least there, the women stay on the sidelines "where they belong."
Welcome to the world of the male ego, ladies. It can be a lonely place sometimes.
So what do you think? I welcome all opinions, comments, and guest posts on the subject so let's hear it.