It’s 2016; it’s about time women can play sports in men’s leagues, right? Wrong. Men and women have separate leagues for multiple reasons, so let’s not ignore them.
The biggest issue in this debate is gender equality. America is becoming more accepting of equality between men and women, whether in the workforce, the military, the media and even in the home. So why should sports be any different? Let me tell you why.
Although professional women’s sports leagues have existed for about a century, they did not become a significant focus until the late 1900s. Even now, they are overlooked by men’s leagues. This may seem like a problem in today’s America, as we progress towards a more equal life for men and women. But this debate goes beyond equality and into safety, ability and the history of sports themselves.
Women should not be allowed to play in professional men’s sports leagues for several reasons. First, there are safety issues when it comes to men and women playing a sport together. More men are naturally wired to be aggressive than women, which could cause many threats to women’s safety in contact sports. For example, in football, a man tackling a woman has the potential to severely hurt the woman because he is often physically stronger, which brings me to the next reason.
More often than not, men are naturally physically bigger and stronger than women. This is not always the case, but according to Psychology Today, men have more total muscle mass and stronger, denser bones than women due to the high testosterone levels. Most men are also taller than women. A study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada showed that overall, women were 52 percent and 66 percent as strong as men in upper and lower body strength respectively.
Women playing against men, especially in contact sports, would be an unfair matchup simply because men are proven to be built physically stronger most of the time. Women would often not be able to perform the same as men in sports when it comes to the amount of physical strength required for certain aspects of each sport. For example, in basketball, a woman would most likely not be able to fight through a male defender to get to the basket, especially if the defender is almost twice her weight.
Lastly, there is a lot of history behind each sport. Allowing women to be in men’s leagues would change the whole atmosphere of the game and how it was originally intended to be played: men against men and women against women, with equal competition.
It would be harder for fans to get invested in each sport because of the merging competition. The competition between the same sexes is much higher than between opposite sexes for the reasons previously mentioned. People want to watch women excel in sports, and I don’t think allowing them to play with the men will make them stand out for their skills more than they would among other women.
None of this means that there shouldn’t be equality between men and women in general. I fully believe in giving women the same opportunities as men. But currently, women are very successful in sports. There is evidence that they get paid less than men and maybe aren’t as recognized, but this doesn’t mean that they should play in the same league. Just because men and women play in different leagues doesn’t mean they are unequal.
While women are often as skilled, if not more skilled than some male athletes, they still have a disadvantage. If teams were to be gender neutral, men would nearly always fill the teams. Women are thriving more in their own leagues. I want them to achieve equality while still being independent and strong on their own.