Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Co-ed, Naked...

Well, that also refers to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, to which I went tonight with the Beekeeper, the Jewish Boyfriend, and his roommate who is not named Josh but whom I call Josh anyhow, because he looks like one. Rather co-ed; rather naked. Lovely girl in small scrap of nether satin and then two duct-tape postage stamps dancing around in front of us, then the live version of Susan Sarandon's character falling out of her corset and stuffing herself back in, providing a welcome distraction from thoughts of "but that lady on screen in her undergarments is in Dead Man Walking!"

Yes, got my debauchery on.

Got it on a bit earlier, as well, when our Pet Sophmore became quite suddenly over-familiar with the Catholic Boyfriend, who is Goodness and Light and is Not To Be Assaulted By Sudden Hands On Pants-Covered Areas. She got herself slapped by the Catholic Boyfriend's girlfriend, who was holding a frisbee. And I saw that it was good.

But anyhow. Back to the original topic: sports. Shanti, to whom I am suddenly linking quite frequently (I've read her for a while now), had a point that made me think: should women be allowed in men's sports leagues? Her answer: no; "If women are allowed to cross-over, why not let men do so?"

I'd never thought of that. I'd always thought, if they can do the same as the men, and they want to, and there's no good reason to keep them separate, why not? (With Girl Scouts, I feel that there's a mild reason to keep them separate -- the coed Scouts in Germany have a well-deserved reputation for, shall we say, interesting camping trips. I wanted to be in the Boy Scouts, but that was mainly because Freakish Girl Scout Mothers had sued GSUSA so that we couldn't do anything that was even vaguely possibly mildly dangerous or that someone seriously unable to do anything physical couldn't do. Our "bike" patch was earned by learning about the parts of a bike, reading about a famous biker, and showing that we knew how to care for a bike; my brother had to bike about 100 miles. Then again, if they let the children of such mothers into Boy Scouts, they'd probably sue the BSA into insipidity as well.)

But I had never thought of letting women into men's leagues in relation to the continued existence of women-only leagues before. I definitely feel that way about race-based and gender-based (normally, I'd say "sex-based," but that's a little too orgiastic for me right now) groups at college. Explicitly race-based groups (with the specific race mentioned in their title or statement of purpose), designed for the exclusion of other races either officially or through preaching on the inferiority and unwelcomeness of other races, I feel ought not to exist; as a good libertarian on this issue, though, I feel they should be allowed to exist, and public sentiment should be encouraged to change such that they should naturally fall from existence. But if they are allowed to exist, they should be allowed to exist for ALL racial groups; they are equally legally permissible in the general public, and they should be given equal standing on a college campus.

I had a friend who wanted to form a "white men's forum" to stand alongside Harvard's "black men's forum," framing the statement of purpose and constitution exactly the same way but just changing the color or continental-origin adjectives. Just to make a point, mind you. He broached the topic to members of the Undergraduate Council freshman year, and they told him an official application for such a group would probably result in his probation for "hate speech."

Same with the "women's groups" -- groups designed explicitly for discussion of such issues as pertain only to women. Sometimes officially barring anyone with a Y chromosome because "women need a place to be away from harmful male presence." (Mary Daly banned men from her college classes for that reason. She insisted that she would teach the courses to male undergrads, if they would set up times to meet with her privately outside of class. A wit for the Boston Globe pointed out that a male teacher making such comments about female undergrads would raise a few eyebrows.) If these groups are permitted to exist, groups designed explicitly for discussion of such issues as pertain only to men, sometimes banning anyone who is not male, should be equally permitted and accepted.

One Harvard professor sees things my way; she's in the "Women's Studies" department, but she calls herself a professor of "Gender Studies" and definitely includes men. I say, equality all the way -- good for her!

And it should be the same for sports leagues -- either separate them, or have everyone together, not just "the good people" and "the other women." If you need a separation, make it "the good people" and "the not so good people"; it'll be mostly men in the first category and mostly women in the second, just as if you called it "the tall people" and "the not so tall people," but there will be overlap in both directions.


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