On sports and the gender divide

March 8th, 2010

Yesterday, a couple of unrelated activities brought out the difference between men and women in the world of sports, even today.

In the morning, I turned on the television to see if could catch the highlights of India’s defeat to England in the Hockey World Cup. (As an aside, I wish that India would not spend all it’s efforts to beat only Pakistan – there are other countries in the arena.) After the highlights were over, I idly flipped to the Australian LPGA ANZ Ladies Masters golf tournament.

Over the course of the tournament, which was incidentally won by Karrie Webb, I found that there were a few differences between the women’s game and the one infamously made unpopular again by Tiger Woods. The most obvious difference is that the course is shorter for the women than the men – expected, I suppose, considering that women are apparently unable to hit a golf ball as far as a man (I reserve judgement on this).

The second obvious difference is the clothing.

Here is Tiger Woods on one of his better days:

Tiger Woods in Swing

And here is one of the new golfer’s on the women’s circuit, Maria Verchenova, a top 10 finisher in the European Tour LPGA championship in Wales:

Maria Verchenova

Do I really need to say more?

And the third point that struck me was the commentary.

Here’s so and so on the 13th tee. She’s 7 under for the day and is sure of making the cut. And she’s wearing such a cute top and it matches so well with her earrings.

I’ve never ever seen a man dress sexy on the golf course and I’ve never never ever heard the commentators discuss his clothing before his tee shot.

But, moving on… in the evening I was invited by friends to join them at a karting zone near my house.

I like karting and it’s fun. Of course, yesterday was a Sunday and everyone and their uncle and their uncle’s three-year old kiddies were at the track, but that’s not what I wanted to point out. I don’t know if it was sheer coincidence, or whether it was something more common, but all the women who went out on track yesterday were almost always the slowest. Most of them were overtaken at least once by other drivers on track during the course of their six laps.

The men on the other hand were raring at the bit. One driver was so intent on being faster than anyone else on track, that he literally shoved another driver off track with his kart while squeezing in a non-existent gap.

Personally, I like the slower women to the over-rash men, but I prefer the fast-but-steady men to the blocking-up-the-track-slow women. Is that a gender bias or is that just common sense?

Is it wrong for women to dress sexy and talk about accessories as long as they play the game well?

What do you think? Considering today is International Women’s Day, I thought it may be an appropriate question.

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