Ottawa Sun

Tuesday, March 2, 1999

What equality really means

By R. Cort Kirwood
Ottawa Sun

WASHINGTON -- For going on 40 years, the feminists has been preaching equality for women. Equal pay for equal work. Access to the board room, not just the bed room. Most of the feminist agenda is nothing if not a cliche.

Yet the success in pushing women into places they never used to be, paradoxically enough, is very likely to increase another problem for women if it hasn't already; that problem is abuse and violence toward women.

Across the nation, and undoubtedly in Canada as well, high school age girls have pushed themselves onto the playing field with boys. For several years now, they have been playing football (real football, not soccer) with the boys, and a recent article documented the rising number of girls who have made their way onto the boys' wrestling teams.

It seems the lady wrestlers have trouble doing two things however. The first is winning, because almost all boys are stronger than almost all girls, and the second is winning legitimately, because boys often forfeit rather than wrestle girls. Such matches are a lose-lose situation. If a boy loses, his teammates will laugh and say a girl beat him. If he wins, it looks like he's beating up on a girl.

As far as the coaches go, they can't demonstrate certain techniques on girls for obvious reasons, nor can boys use such techniques in a match. Girls, boys and coaches are justifiably frustrated with the needless situation.

To digress for a moment, you don't see any women playing professional football, or competing with men in tennis and other sports. Women have their own leagues, such as the new women's basketball league. One wonders why, given that feminists have been so insistent about gender equity in schools. Maybe even the feminists know the American people will tolerate only so much nonsense.

In any event, frustration is hardly the only problem with girls competing against boys. A bigger problem is what allowing girls to play violent sports teaches boys, although for now their instincts, and undoubtedly what their mothers have taught them, is contrary to the teaching. That is, you can manhandle women and get away with it, and violence against women is not only acceptable but also necessary and good in some cases.

That teaching, after all, is the only way to ensure girls are treated as equals without "gender-norming" the sports to accommodate the weaker contestants girls always are. If girls are the equal of boys, they deserve no quarter.

The military services are now trying to impart this lesson to men in the ranks, whether it's in hand-to-hand combat with pugil sticks or noncombat jobs. The irony in the military situation is that officers are graded partly on how many women succeed in their units. Thus do they try everything they can to ensure women succeed, including giving them passing grades in training exercises they haven't really passed. So the women aren't really being treated as equals at all.

As with professional sports, the feminists aren't complaining.

Happily, the idiotic notion of treating women as the equals of men in all human endeavours has fallen on deaf ears. The boy wrestlers won't shove a girl's face into the mat, and military men who serve as mechanics in the Air Force, for instance, routinely heft equipment too heavy for their women counterparts to handle.

But imagine what kind of havoc would ensue if men did treat women as exact equals. Girls would not only get stomped on the gridiron and wrestling mat, but also likely get shoved aside to drown in the icy waters of the North Atlantic when the next Titanic goes down. Women and children won't come first anymore. The new rule will be every woman for herself.

Domestic violence, we are told, is at an all time high these days. Perhaps part of the reason is that treating women as the equals of men in everything has given some men the notion they can get away with anything. Or perhaps not. Either way, it's something the feminists might think about.

Copyright © 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.