Friday, October 31, 2008

Equal prize money at X Games

Winter X Games 13 is approaching and I guess I just assumed that the prize money was already equal--but apparently not. How naive of me. My assumption that an alternative sporting event that began in the Title IX era (not so alternative anymore, I realize) would actually start from a premise of equality clearly lacked some critical thinking.
Anyway, organizers have promised equal prize money for men and women this winter after discussions with various organizations including the Women's Sports Foundation. Rationale is slightly irksome though.
According to the PR person for the games Katie Moses Swope "Really, over recent years, with the recent successes in women's sport, we decided to recognize their talent with an equal purse."
Um, is that a compliment? So what you're saying to those women who competed in the first X Games over a decade ago was that they just were not good enough.
Or that any woman who ever played sports until just a few year ago didn't deserve equal compensation.
This rhetoric was used recently when the first women were inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame. It's a "they're ready now" rationale that puts it all on the women and their alleged past inferior performance rather than the system that still values men's sports over women's and generally will not reward women's sports (monetarily and in other ways such as media coverage and serious consideration of their sports) in the same way.


tennischick said...

tennis leads the way for a lot of other sports!

ken said...

True, but tennis conforms in a lot of other ways. It is less threatening because of overt femininity. But alternative sports like those in the X Games bring into question "appropriate" femininity and masculinity and who should be performing them and how. So, after thought, I am not surprised the X Games never bothered to have equal prize money before this. But I don't think it has anything to do with women being better at their sports now. Because men have gotten better as well; records get broken, tricks get harder, people fly higher, etc.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?