General Question

longgone's avatar

Are sporting events for women a good idea?

Asked by longgone (19121points) 2 months ago
30 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

I was talking to my husband the other day. He loves chess and keeps up with competitions. While we were talking, he mentioned that there’s a women’s league, though women can also play against men in the “regular” games. Men cannot compete in the women’s league.

This information made me uncomfortable. It seems condescending on a structural level, like society has determined that women need their own league so they’ll have a shot at winning.

Most sports do this, as far as I know. That it’s done in chess, where there is no physical advantage, was still shocking to me. Imagine if we had a Black chess league to give Black people a shot at winning…is this really so different?

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kritiper's avatar

Yes, if they want to engage.

LostInParadise's avatar

When women start winning championships in the men’s league then the women’s league should be disbanded. Until then, why not allow women to achieve recognition in their own league?

JLoon's avatar

In athletics there’s always been a separation based on known physical differences between male and female strength & power. Olympic records & times continue to prove the contrast, although the performance gap may be narrowing for some team sports.

I played NCAA womens basketball for 2 years, and I know it allowed me and other players to compete and show excellence at our own level without being dominated by men. But when it comes to non-athletic intellectual competition like this chess league, the separation seems silly and unfair.

It’s like segregating women scientists, teachers, doctors, or attorneys. My own feeling is let me use my mind and play the game.

I promise I won’t steal your balls.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s odd to me in a competition that is all about brain power if it’s at a pro level. If it’s not a serious competition, like just some local thing where it also involves people socializing, I think it’s fine.

Smashley's avatar

Chess has a long history, and the competitive level is very high. That there are fewer female grandmasters is certainly a cultural artifact, influenced by history, access and various social factors. It is acceptable to have a women’s competition, until such time as it is not needed. The goal is to increase the level of competition, and inspire girls to take up chess.

Don’t think of it as condescending. It’s justice. We could just write off larger part of female athletes because they would lose at this event or that versus men, but instead we made a system that celebrates female athletes at all levels. We have made a space for women to grow without men beating them out for rebounds and roster spots. The strength and character you gain from sport, and even the dreams of college scholorships, professional athletics, and lucrative endorsement deals are accessible to all our little girls now.

In such sports as it is not necessary by all means, integrate.

Except curling. Having a men’s, women’s and mixed competition, though asinine, means more curling, which is good for everyone.

seawulf575's avatar

There is a squirrely side to me that wants to ask you to define what a woman is.

In most sports that require physical prowess to excel, yes women need their own league. Chess is sort of hybrid between a game and a sport but doesn’t require a tremendous physical exertion to participate. Certainly not the physical exertion that the physical differences between men and women would give men an advantage. In this case a women’s league is unnecessary unless the women just don’t want to play with the arrogant men.

Forever_Free's avatar

I personally don’t understand the classification on certain levels.
It doesn’t bother me so much as I want to crash the party to prove it shouldn’t matter.
I have always joined groups or organized communities as the outsider to learn their perspectives. I like to buck the norm. I learn from being the outlier in groups. It also shows my children and others that you do not have to fit into a classification that someone else decided.

ragingloli's avatar

One of the issues is the size of the pool of players. The fewer players you pick/pick themselves out of any population, the less likely it is you are getting top tier talent. Percentages of female players compared to the overall number range from 5 to 15%.

gorillapaws's avatar

1. Chess isn’t a sport. Nobody will convince me that chess players are athletes.
2. I’m with @Smashley. I see this in the same way I see groups like Women Who Code. Are women inherently worse programmers? of course not! but they don’t have parity in the workforce. Having all women’s groups are about competition between the genders, it’s about lifting up and inspiring young women to pursue something in an area that they’ve not historically had role models to look up to.

gorillapaws's avatar

CORRECTION: “Having all women’s groups are NOT about competition between the genders…”

Entropy's avatar

I think there’s a mixture of things here.

First, if an ATHLETIC competition, it makes all the sense in the world to separate genders. As much as equality is a good legal and cultural principle, we shouldn’t be blind to the fact that men are just bigger, stronger, and faster. I saw a fight between one of the best MMA female fighters in the world and an average-ish local MMA fighter for his region who was male. The man kicked the woman’s ass. This guy wasn’t bigger. They were in a similar weight class. But he had longer arms and more power per pound.

Skill matters. But there are undeniable realities that nature creates. That female MMA fighter would probably clean my clock…but unless the skill gap is ENORMOUS (as it would me between untrained and out of shape me and this female MMA), women just can’t expect to compete with men in physical competitions.

BTW, Serena Williams has said this also. She’s the most dominant female tennis player of all time, and she was asked where should would rank on the men’s side. The reporter clearly expected her to confidently brag that she would rank highly. I forget her exact answer but she herself said she wouldn’t be among the top 200 or something like that. It was a very sobering analysis. People make a big deal out of Riggs vs King, but Riggs was old and out of shape by that match.

Now – Chess is NOT an athletic event. I would argue that a sport requires some athletic component, and that chess is a GAME, not a SPORT…but that’s irrelevant. Chess has no athletic component. I suspect that a woman who dedicated herself to the sport equally to a man would do quite well. I have no idea HOW well, or how the differences between male and female brains would factor in. There ARE differences. That’s a neuroscience fact. But individuals have large differences also, and I won’t presume to know which factor would dominate the other.

The existence of women’s only chess groups likely represents that historically women are underrepresented in chess and so a women’s only league might make them feel more at ease and increase it’s perceived accessibility, which is good. If a woman WANTS to compete with the guys, she can, which is also good.

Queen’s Gambit was a fun show, but in reality a little girl finding herself competing only against the guys might feel out of place or intimidated and decide not to participate. Whereas with a group where she gets to play other girls she might feel more comfortable and stick with it, fall in love with it, and she’ll go as far as her intellect and hard work take her.

However, these women’s only chess groups might ALSO be a holdover of a long held and only recently rejected view that women are intellectually inferior to men. It was a mainstream view for a LONG time. And so these groups might have been set up for very condescending reasons. But again…if it improves accessibility…is it a problem? I feel like we can acknowledge the bad reason and look past it.

RayaHope's avatar

I think when it comes to certain things only women can compete with other women. It’s a known fact that on average men are stronger and bigger then women. Men have more muscles, bigger bones and overall more body mass then women. Now obviously there are exceptions to this but as the overall norm women are smaller and weaker then men when it comes to muscular strength. So in sports that hing on that, men will “normally” have the advantage.

Now if you are talking about the strength of mind, that’s a different story. Unless you’re up against me…I forfeit! lol

KRD's avatar

There can be a women sports league if they want to participate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When it comes to chess I find it insulting to have women’s leagues separate from men’s leagues. It’s implying we don’t have the brain power that men have and need to be coddled.

JLeslie's avatar

Realize that the OP wrote that women can participate in the chess games where the men play. It’s not an all men’s league.

Smashley's avatar

Without trying to start any fights, it’s worth noting that the trans women in sport debate is centralized around some of the things we are talking about. Typically, men’s leagues are actually “open” leagues, where the only qualification is quality play, and women’s leagues are understood to be “protected” leagues, where entrance is restricted, to increase participation while upholding the spirit of fairness in sport. No one is fighting against trans men competing against men, but to some perspectives, the presence of trans women in womens sport violates the protected status of the league, and thus the spirit of fairness.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley I think the root of that debate comes down to asking the question “what is the competition?” Overall, physiologically men are stronger than women. Their bone density, muscle mass, testosterone levels, etc are all higher and mean that biological men have an advantage in sports that require physical strength. This is not a slam on women in any way, it is just a fact. So for women to be able to compete in a fair competition, women’s leagues are created and as you say protected. Men’s leagues are not protected because women competing in their league are not generally a competition threat. When you start throwing trans men into the mix you are now taking a person with a biological advantage and sliding them into the protected league. Look at Lia Thomas as the perfect example. Is generally a non sequitur in the men’s league, but in the women’s league, because of the physiological differences, Lia is a superstar. And the only reason he was allowed to compete is political. But as competition goes, you have taken women as a whole and made them suddenly have to compete in unfair conditions.

Smashley's avatar

Mostly agree but Lia Thomas is a trans woman, not a trans man.

It’s definitely a tricky issue, but the notion that their junk is what matters most is reductionist. I think the defining difference should be whether someone has gone through male puberty or not.

As far as chess goes, I just can’t see it being a problem to competition to let people be in the leagues they want.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley with chess, I’m with you. I don’t know that a man or woman think differently than each other. I mean they do think differently, but 2+2 is still 4 for both of them.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe having a chess competition for women encourages women to play chess. My dad taught me how to play when I was a young girl, but I have a feeling a lot of girls aren’t taught chess, because their moms didn’t play chess. The women’s competition might be the path to women competing among the top competitors.

kruger_d's avatar

Historically, women’s leagues have often been started as a way to bar them from competing with men. This is true even of women’s Olympic events.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why would we need an excuse barring us from competing with men?

Acrylic's avatar

There are men’s groups and women’s groups in almost anything. Nothing wrong with that. Chess is chess. If men and women can compete equally, it seems having the different leagues, if you will, isn’t a problem.

RayaHope's avatar

Why do people compete so much? Why can’t we be happy with what we have? Ain’t that good enough?

JLeslie's avatar

@RayaHope You aren’t competitive, either am I. Some people are very competitive. It’s a personality thing.

RayaHope's avatar

^^ My brother is into sports and stuff to he gets so carried away with that stuff and I don’t see what the big deal is. He watches football and he yells at the TV and jumps around and I look at him like, really? what the heck is wrong with him? Like that is gonna effect the game somehow? IDK

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m competitive.

Genie19's avatar

Girls and women who participate in sports had higher levels of self-esteem and confidence and less depression. Compared to girls and women who do not participate in sports, those who do have more favorable body images and report higher levels of psychological well-being.So, definitely, sporting events for women is a good idea.

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