Instinctively and empirically we all know men and women are not equal. Women are better than men in some things, and men are better than women in other things. Feminists and liberals in general push for equality across the board, especially in areas where they know men outperform women. We’ve seen physical standards lowered, for example, for firemen in order to make it easier for women to compete with men.
Now we learn that University of Connecticut women’s college basketball coach Geno Auriemma wants the women’s basketball rim lowered 7.2 inches. He wants to make this accommodation because “the average men’s player is 6-foot-5 and the average woman is 5-foot-11.” Auriemma, with a career winning percentage of .862 percent, makes the following comparison:
“Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women’s volleyball than men’s volleyball? It’s about seven inches shorter so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net [as the men].”
I’m all for it. I’m willing to make this accommodation as long as women stop trying to tell me that they can perform equally with men on everything. They can’t, and they never will and vice versa.
Consider track and field. An article appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News about Ryan Whiting and his 70-foot throw that broke the Pennsylvania state record. (I held the record in 1968. It was broken in 1972 by Ron Semkiw. Whiting broke Semkiw’s record in 2005.) A comment was left by a reader of the on-line story about how remarkable Whiting’s throw was given the fact that the men’s world record was just five-feet farther (75′ 10″) and the women’s record in the shot put was 74’ 2.75”.
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that the national high school record is 81’ 3” — a monster throw that was . This means, by just looking at the distance, Michael Carter, the high schooler who holds the record, threw farther than the men’s world record.
While the distances are relatively close, the implements don’t weigh the same. At the college and Olympic levels, the women’s shot put weighs 8.8 pounds. The shot put for high school boys weighs 12 pounds. The shot put used in college and at the Olympic-level for men weighs 16 pounds. Even the hurdles are lower for women.
Carving out areas where women are not equal is not a bad thing as long as I don’t have to pay for the accommodation. Let the market decide. Women’s volleyball is a sport that stands on its own. So do gymnastics and figure skating. The same is not true for women’s basketball, even if the rim is lowered 7.2 inches.