2) There have been times when it’s been really clear that network television programming was being done by guys. In Star Trek, it was obvious that Kirk was supposed to be the sex symbol of the show, but every girl I knew who watched the show was hot for Spock. The same with The Man from UNCLE — the girls I knew were looking past Napoleon Solo and looking at Ilya Kuryakin instead. And the two characters, Ilya and Spock, had a lot of similarities, too. Smart, cerebral, cool and sometimes sardonic. And not hopping into bed with different girls every episode.
Every person, in every photo, was male.
People complain about gender imbalance in the arts, in business, and so on, and with good reason, but this was striking. One hundred percent.
Not that there aren’t successful women playing sports, and that was only one day, but still.
In that context, it was surprising (and very cool) to read this sentence in a New York Daily News story about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao boxing match in Vegas:
The pound-for-pound best fighter in the world might not be in the ring on May 2 in Las Vegas. She might be sitting ringside.
That’s talking about Ronda Rousey, the women’s bantamweight ultimate fighting champion, whose last two fights (both victories — she’s undefeated) have taken a total of 30 seconds.
The talk now is whether she should start fighting men in her weight class. I have no idea if she will or if she should, but it’s always interesting to see what happens when the very idea of women competing against men in sports is even suggested. There’s been some freaking out already.
During World War Two, so many baseball players were in military service that the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was created. The league was very successful, and it continued for quite a few years after the men came back. Right before it was shut down, in 1954, articles had started to appear saying that the women should start playing at least a few games against the major league teams. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
Anyway, here’s Ronda Rousey defeating Cat Zingano. In fourteen seconds. You can fast forward past the preliminaries, but you might end up going past the entire fight, too.
I used to work with a guy who thought that women shouldn’t compete in the Olympics, because it was not natural for women to be competitive. Men were competitive, in his view, and women were cooperative and nurturing.
I mentioned that to my mother, and she wanted me to ask him whether he’d actually ever met any women.