Gender Ideology Creates a Modern ‘Battle of the Sexes’
Women in modern America consistently find themselves caught in a tug of war between partisan and ideological differences. While Democrats feign promotion of diversity and feminism, their policies result in the erasure of women by permitting men who identify as women to claim their athletic opportunities and invade their private spaces. Though Republican policy protects the real interests of women, conservatives tend to shy away from admitting that women can contribute real value in historically male-dominated activities.
Fifty years after Billy Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in a tennis match known as the “Battle of the Sexes,” the fight for women’s equality in athletics has taken a new form: ensuring that real women receive the opportunities they deserve by keeping sports divided by biological sex rather than so-called gender identity.
Family Research Council signed a new coalition letter from 28 pro-women organizations and individuals, calling out the Biden administration for seeking to undermine Title IX’s intended protections for equality of the sexes. The White House’s proposed regulatory scheme would require schools, colleges, and universities to allow biological men who identify as transgender women to compete in athletics against real women.
“Implementation of the anticipated regulations would directly undermine Title IX’s important statutory protection of equal rights for female students by arbitrarily subordinating those rights to the Department’s novel gender identity policy preferences,” the letter reads. “Such rulemaking would conjure out of thin air a legal right for biologically male students who identify as females to compete against biologically female students where Congress has clearly provided no such right — directly encroaching on Title IX’s protections for female student athletes.”
Meanwhile, Ally Financial Inc. and The Walt Disney Company recently announced a multimillion-dollar scheme to improve coverage of women’s sports, including increased features across ESPN networks and highlighting women’s athletic achievements on SportsCenter. According to an Ally spokesperson, “Through this barrier-breaking partnership that channels funds directly to women’s sports and begins to level the playing field for female athletes we hope to create the kind of systemic change needed to significantly increase visibility, opportunity and fandom in women’s sports.”
The intention to improve coverage of women’s sports is a good one. Female athletes dedicate immense time, energy, and passion to honing their abilities; their achievements merit coverage even aside from their ability to inspire future generations of young women to compete. However, in an age where women’s sports aren’t limited to genuine women, is such a project actually contributing value? What’s the point in giving “women’s sports” more airtime if the people competing aren’t, you know, women?
When Billy Jean King battled Bobby Riggs, the intention was never to prove that women and men must compete against one another in order to achieve equality of the sexes. King’s own website explains, “Billie Jean’s victory, together with the passage of Title IX, is often credited with both igniting a boom in women’s sports participation, and for empowering women to advocate for equal pay in all sectors of the workforce.” The intention was to show the world that there is a place for women in historically male-dominated spaces such as sports — and that preserving that space was significant regardless of if it was convenient or desirable to men.
King once said, “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s [tennis] tour and affect all women’s self-esteem. To beat a 55-year-old guy was no thrill for me. The thrill was exposing a lot of new people to tennis.”
America cannot simultaneously claim to support women’s equality while erasing the very existence of women and relegating our opportunities to any man willing to grow out his hair and occasionally wear a skirt. In the end, King’s loss likely wouldn’t have set women back 50 years — but the Biden administration’s plan to allow men to infiltrate women’s sports truly would.