S is for Sports, Not for Men Only

by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel
The Guys Guide to Feminism (Seal Press, 2011) is a witty, politically savvy, entertaining primer on a topic many men still struggle with—how accepting feminism actually can improve guys’ lives. An A-Z guide, the book features facts, faux interviews, and history. The authors, both Voice Male national advisory board members, have been addressing issues related to men and masculinity for decades. Each has spoken at scores of colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada and are the authors of a number of books including The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars (Kaufman) and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (Kimmel).
Michael: I’m here today with Michael K.

Michael: Hey man, great to be on your show again.

Michael: You got pretty roughed up last week.

Michael: (Grins) Just a scratch, man, just a scratch. (Cut to slow motion of Michael K getting totally creamed so audience can be dazzled by his toughness.)

Michael: You’re one tough dude.

Michael: Which is why you don’t see no women playing football.

Michael: Wait a minute now, Michael. Where’re you coming from, dude?

Michael: Planet Earth, man. I mean, why do men make more money playing sports than women? It’s because we’re more athletic.

Michael: What would you say if I told you it’s because of sexism?

Michael: I’d say you’re a mangina. What’re you talking about? Just look at Olympic records.

Michael: A lot of that is because for most of the 20th century, women didn’t have the same opportunities. They weren’t encouraged to pursue sports. They didn’t have as good coaching. Their schools didn’t have as good programs for them. So they didn’t develop.

Michael: Maybe so, but it’s biology, man. Men are stronger, faster.

Michael: True, the fastest women won’t ever outrun the fastest men, the strongest women won’t out-row or jump as high as the strongest men. But you’re missing three things. One, the fastest and most athletic women are faster and more athletic than 99.9 percent of men on the planet. Two, now that there’s more support for girls’ sports, the gap between men’s and women’s records is decreasing. Women’s sports are getting more exciting all the time. And, three, you’re full of crap.

Michael: Man, would you want to see your girlfriend in a jock strap?

Michael: What’s that supposed to mean?

Michael: It means I’m trying to get a laugh from the audience so they don’t have to listen to your argument. Anyway, everyone would prefer to watch men’s sports.

Michael: I wonder if that’s because we give them a lot more attention. They’re the ones that get written about in papers and highlighted on TV. We know the characters and the stories. We’re raised with images of the male sports hero. Men’s leagues get defined as the real things. In basketball, we have the NBA and the Women’s NBA, as if it’s the Ladies Auxiliary. In golf the PGA and the Ladies PGA. It’s pretty clear that the men’s leagues are the real deal and women don’t count as much.

Michael: Listen, Michael, don’t get me wrong. I like seeing chicks play sports. I got a whole DVD of beach volleyball in slow motion.

Michael: [sigh]
Excerpted from The Guy’s Guide to Feminism by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel. Available from Seal Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2011. guysguidetofeminism.com