If you don’t like women’s sports, you therefore also hate women.

At least that was the implication being made by Ashley Miller when she posted this article from The Onion:

SOCHI, RUSSIA—With a dominant 6-1 win over Sweden in Monday’s semifinal, Team USA advanced to the gold medal game of women’s ice—whoa, where the fuck do you think you’re going?

Hold on a minute, you sexist prick. Come back and read this.

After surging ahead thanks to first-period goals from Amanda Kessel, Kacey Bellamy, and—what, did seeing the names Amanda and Kacey already make you want to navigate away from this page? Because sources saw your dismissive, misogynistic bullshit coming a mile away before posting this report about a women’s sporting event, even though it involves a team representing the United States of America at the goddamn Olympics.

According to reports, the U.S. will be favorites against longtime rivals Canada in Thursday’s final, and why don’t you just park your ass right where it is for 10 more seconds, because reading 300 words about a talented team of female athletes on the verge of Olympic gold isn’t going to kill you.

C’mon, you honestly think sources can’t see right through you, you chauvinistic fuck?

Speaking to reporters following her impressive one-goal, two-assist performance against Sweden, U.S. forward Brianna Decker said—well, do you really want to know what she said? Or are you just going to ignore it like you do every story related to the LPGA, the WNBA, women’s tennis, and the U.S. women’s soccer team? Sources also apologize that this page doesn’t contain images of female hockey players wearing bikinis, because Lord knows that sort of crap would keep your attention.

Reports went on to confirm that this shit you’re pulling right here is exactly why women struggle to make a living as professional athletes.

At press time, you certainly didn’t make it this far into the story, so just forget it. You fucking pig.

Presumably, The Onion’s point here is to say that people who don’t like women’s sports are like that for misogynistic reasons, but I could see a few other interpretations, albeit less likely ones. In the case of Miller, though, when she posted this on her Facebook page last week, she was clearly cheering it on as not only a feminist, but as a fan of women’s (and men’s, for that matter) soccer.

Of course, the article is entirely incoherent and clearly not written by a sports fan that thinks much about sports in the first place. Here’s what I wrote about women and sports over 3 years ago:

I just wish we could all be a little honest. Men, on the whole, are better at sports than women, on the whole. We have these systems that rely on the ability to perform to a certain level – most runs, most points, most goals. And the best male athletes are going to be able to reach these levels better than the best female athletes. This is a big reason why women’s sports flounder. Is this so wrong? I really have no desire to watch a basketball league where it is big news that one of its players managed to actually dunk. (This really was big news for the WNBA a year or two ago.) So we can’t just give a blanket blame to society and culture and biases and discrimination, even if all those things might play a role. Sports are about top performance. If a woman can compete with the best men, great. But she’s the exception, not the rule.

As a sports fan, I almost always want to watch the best of the best. (My one exception is college hockey during the Frozen Four, provided Maine is one of those four, but even then I’ll choose to watch something else from time to time.) The fact is, women’s sports do not feature the best players out there. That’s why there is a separate league in the first place. Indeed, I think there’s a good chance any final 16 NCAA men’s basketball team could beat any WNBA team. Not that I’m a fan of NCAA basketball (nor even the NBA), but the point is a valid one: in general, men are better at sports than women. Even two of the top female tennis players – the Williams sisters – were only willing to claim they could beat any men outside the top 200 in world rankings. (They played a guy ranked around 203 or 204, each losing to him in an exhibition match when they were teenagers.) But perhaps my point would be better made with video. First up is a video of uncontested warm-up dunks prior to a WNBA All-Star game:

Notice that some of the women were barely able to reach the rim. Now here is LeBron James from last week’s All-Star game (which may as well be uncontested):

I don’t think it’s so crazy (or sexist) to say which one of those was far more exciting. And just imagine if we could extend these highlights to other sports. Who would you rather see hit a baseball, David Ortiz or a female player who would struggle to reach the Mendoza line in the MLB? The answer is clear to any rational sports fan, but Ashley Miller is not a rational sports fan. (It shouldn’t surprise anyone that she’s on FreeThought Blogs.) As a result of me posting similar videos on her post praising The Onion’s article, she blocked me. This was probably in part cumulative since I had recently criticized her Internet investigating of Woody Allen where she effectively said guilty until proven innocent should be the default stance concerning anyone accused of any sort of sexual misconduct. (I wonder how many of Miller’s supporters would believe me if I said she had asked me for “coffee” in an elevator. Methinks ‘innocent until proven guilty’ would make a rapid comeback.) None-the-less, this sort of echo-chamber blocking is pretty characteristic of the people associated with FreeThought Blogs and atheism+. Quite the movement they have there.

(One last point on Miller: She quoted and blogged about a Facebook response of mine to something she posted. She did not message me or tag me in anything on Facebook. She didn’t even bother to link to my blog from her blog. I happened to see her post on my feed. Then on that post when someone responded to me in a way she liked, she made it a point to politely ask if she could quote that person in one place or another. Go ahead and quote me, fine, but have the decency to let me know. This is about par for FreeThought Blog ethics. We’ve seen a similar mindset with ringleader PZ Myers who refuses to help a person with whom he disagrees, even if the point of help matters to him. Nope, too bad, he disagrees with you on other things, so principles don’t matter. Yet when he makes third-party accusations about Michael Shermer and the great Ken White offers to help Myers find counsel, Myers has no problem accepting the assistance. Why, who cares that Ken White thinks I’m an attention whore who treats complex situations like they’re cartoons?! Principles! How convenient.)

But I digress. It’s utterly ridiculous to claim that the reason women’s sports do so poorly is because everyone just hates women. No. Professional female athletes just aren’t the best of the best. It’s entirely possible for a women’s hockey game to be entertaining, and I don’t fault anyone who happens to like watching that type of competitiveness, but that’s not what most sports fans want. What we want is a high class of athletics. If there comes a day that a female baseball player can hit .300 in the majors, then every baseball fan will love watching her hit. But until then, let me see Big Papi hit an opposite-field shot over the Green Monster.

Polls: President Obama making gains amongst women

Who can say this was unexpected?

Female voters in battleground states are rallying around President Obama in droves, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, suggesting a gender gap could pose one of the Republicans’ biggest challenges in this fall’s general election race.

Obama led Mitt Romney by 18 percentage points among female registered voters in the nation’s top 12 swing states. The gender gap between Obama and Rick Santorum was 15 points. USA Today reports that this is the “first significant lead” the president has held in these key voting states.

I think the only surprising thing about this is that it isn’t always like this.

Female football player has to sit out game

Or her team wouldn’t even get to play:

Why? It wasn’t due to injury. Rather, [Mina] Johnson decided not to play in the [junior high] game after the opposition threatened to forfeit if Johnson was allowed to play. Apparently, Northeast had a problem with its boys playing football against a girl.

I fail to see a good reason for this. Is it because Johnson is at more risk of injury than the boys? I would say she can handle herself:

As the Tidewater News reported, Johnson recorded four sacks in a recent game against Rocky Mount, and was gaining a reputation in the league as a standout junior varsity player.

Or maybe Northeast knows she’s good, so they wanted an edge in the game? I don’t see how that would matter:

So instead of making a fuss about the whole situation, Johnson sat on the sidelines for her team’s 60-0 victory.

There is no good reason for the school to forfeit simply because a girl is playing. If she can compete at the level of the boys, she should be allowed to do so.

I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on women and sports. I’m not about to sit and watch the WNBA, a league where it’s a big deal if someone dunks the ball – I want to watch the best of the best, and when it comes to sports, even the most stubborn feminist knows men dominate there – but that doesn’t mean women should be denied basic opportunities.

Now compounding the issue, another school may threaten to forfeit:

Northeast isn’t the only upcoming opponent considering a forfeit if Johnson doesn’t sit out. Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy is also reportedly considering a forfeit as well; the two schools are scheduled to play a game on Oct. 27.

The official reason for Word of God as well as Northeast is that they have the same athletic association which forbids girls and boys crossing into each others sports. Of course, each school could do the right thing and ignore the rule, or if they want to play by the book, they could seek an exception or review to the rule. But neither has bothered. I’m willing to bet the religious school is more happy about the division than anyone, but it’s horseshit no matter who does it. Let Mina Johnson play.

Solving the income disparity between the sexes

One of the biggest problems facing the U.S. is the massive ideologically-driven income gap. Fewer people in the middle hurts the economy: despite the myth, the wealthy only create jobs when people are spending – and poor people don’t have much to spend. But fear not, there is a bright side to this.

Currently women make roughly 75 cents to every dollar that men make. That isn’t the bright side and it sounds pretty terrible. Because it is. But that is among all age groups. The numbers gets slightly closer as one gets younger and younger, even if they are still quite a bit apart. It is there, however, that is where the solution lies.

As big box stores and other huge corporations become more and more the norm, people are given fewer and fewer good choices for employment. Yes, the days of real pay are over, but look on the bright side: if everyone is making $8 an hour and there is no middle class, as Republicans and other ideologues want, then from where will disparity between the sexes originate? There will still be big gaps between those at the very top, sure, but they make up a very tiny percentage of the population. As the so-called “job creators” become richer and richer, the jobs they’ll be creating will employ a great number of people – part time, at eight bucks an hour and with no real benefits. Even if men make $8.15 an hour, such disparity will hardly be noticed. Indeed, the sort of peanut raises so many Americans get today already go unnoticed.