Last night, the London Olympics came to an end and entered the history books. This Olympics marked the first time every nation had at least one woman on its team.
Jen Floyd Engel, writer for FOX Sports, decided to take on this topic in her Aug. 7 article "Games of the Girls? Not really". In the article, she discusses how it is a myth to say that this is the games of women when women are being criticized by other women and by social media. I would like to take on some of the points she makes.
Engel says, "No, this is no longer a participation issue, or about equality. Women are playing and winning. The danger is that we confuse this with power, girl or otherwise. Real power is not being allowed to compete. It is being allowed to compete without conditions."
I have to say that while I have only been paying attention to the Olympic coverage that occurred while the events where being telecast, I never once heard the word "equality" uttered anywhere but Engel's article. Inclusion and participation are not the same thing as equality. There is a clear difference. I also never heard the women's accomplishments referred to as power, merely proud accomplishments.
Engel discusses how many of the female athletes were criticized for their hairstyles, their uniforms, their sexiness or lack there of, about their reactions to winning/defeat. She talks about Saudi runner Wojdan Shaherkani who, on Twitter, was labeled the "prostitute of the Olympics".
She goes on to say, "We love those kinds of tales . . . because they are fairy tales, and fairy tales have happy endings and do not make us think or let us question ..."
There are many fairy tales in this country we go on telling even though we know they are not true. A prime example would be the lie that anyone can become successful. We all know those born disadvantaged have the odds against them, that true success is determined by one's access to quality education and one's childhood support network, but we keep on telling ourselves otherwise.
Finally, Engel says, "The easy columnist call would be to blame sexism, except that is intellectually dishonest." She goes on to say all the critics are other women.
Is this really an argument? We all know women are more critical of other women than men are. It's a well-known fact and unfortunately happens all the time.
What do you think? Are Engel's arguments valid ones?
Source: Games of the Girls? Not really