Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Separate but female

A quick little think piece for those of you who want more than the snarky list from me...

First, there was a pre-Oscar column in the NYT in which the female writer put forth the proposition that there is no reason to split acting awards (or directing, for that very strong matter, especially in the wake of "The Hurt Locker") among men and women. The more sensible approach, of course, is to give out awards for drama, comedy and other disciplines, since there's no way on this Earth to judge that apple against that orange, but in the meantime, it's kind of silly to think that a best supporting actor is doing anything that's very different from a best supporting actress.

Heck, many women in the field don't even call themselves actresses anymore, as part of a whole movement to avoid gender roles in proper nouns. The road to equality also involves taking away little trophies, it seems, or at the very least, making sure that Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny" level moments don't happen anymore. So be it.

Getting back to sports, this also translates to the recent kerfluffle about the track star who is somewhere in between, in that great false dichotomy of the gender scale between men and women. And it's not as if Danica Patrick is racing on a distaff circuit, or that the Winter Olympians go have their separate but unequal hoedown, though there is that sad little spectacle that is women not being allowed in ski jumping.

Which leads us to the curious case of Kelly Kulick, the first woman to win a Professional Bowlers Association title. Kulick didn't just win a title, she won a major in that world, and took down a $40,000 pot. In the Lemur article that told the tale, we get the following money quote from Women's Sports Foundation Founder Billie Jean King, who knows something about gender equity:

"Kelly Kulick's win... is not only historic, it serves as a motivational and inspirational event for girls and women competing at all levels all around the world."

And the following statement from the kugler herself:

"Obviously, this is a turning point for my career and women's sports in general, but I would really like to see the whole sport benefit."

Which would be... the creation of a full-time women's tour, where she'd probably be the big fish in the (same old) little pond.

Ah well. One shouldn't expect the athlete to be anything more than the athlete, really. And for the sake of argument, I'll call bowling athletic, if only because it still qualifies as sport, seeing as you don't need a judge to tell you who won. Or how what you are doing is no different than the men...

1 comment:

Kate DuBois said...

Kelly Kulick's win is a landmark victory and right or wrong that it's coming so late in the game, it's here now and that is truly exciting. As more girls and women are mentored and coached in athletics by women like Kelly, Billie Jean, and Harvard University Women's Basketball Coach Kathy Delaney Smith, who was recently profiled in a new film Act as If, wins like this will be commonplace. And won't that be something wonderful to celebrate too.

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