A late September issue of the Wall Street Journal carried an interesting article entitled, “Interlopers Run Amok: Guys Crash Road Races for Women.” The subtext read, “They Come in First, Are Dissed at Finish; For Meeting Fit Females, “It’s Hard to Beat.”
As titles go, that’s a mouthful and, although it strayed from standard advice to “keep it concise,” once I was able to unravel my tongue, it did capture my attention. Written by Kevin Helliker, the article begins by telling the story of Jonathan Mederos, a male who dared to enter the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2009 and – this is where he faltered – won!
According to Helliker, when Mederos crossed the finish line, the announcers ignored him and the crowd scowled in anger. His reception mimicked the one received by Rick Cordes, the winner of last year’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon, who had been subjected to catcalls throughout the 13 mile race. Rather than puff out his chest in celebration, Cordes pulled in his shoulders and tried to make himself smaller as he crossed into the winner’s circle. With a finger to his lips, he beseeched those watching to be kind.
Why do organizers advertise a race as being open to males if they don’t sincerely mean it? Lawsuits! Rules that allow men to enter events actually designed for “women only” are a precautionary measure to prevent equal rights advocates from mucking up the venue.
From Nike’s Marathon/Half Marathon advertisement:
“It’s a celebration of women running but men are welcome.”
From Disney’s website for the Princess Half Marathon:
“Fairytales do come true. One mile at a time. Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend brings women of all ages together to participate in a magical event designed just for them. The Disney Princesses are the inspiration for the weekend's events and will focus on the attributes every princess possesses: commitment, courage, determination, fantasy, perseverance, and strength.
There comes a time in every woman's life when she must blaze her own trail. A time when she has to run, not from an evil stepmother, but to her moment of glory. A day when the true princess inside of her shines through. The time has come for you! So, dust off those glass running slippers and get set for an experience nothing short of happily ever after!¨
To compete you must be 14 years of age or older. This is a women's focused event, however, men will not be excluded. Men receive the same amenities, will be placed in later starting corrals, and are not eligible for individual awards.”
I love Disney, but I find the above promotional condescending. If I am going to have a royal title, I want it to be Empress.
In all seriousness, where are the “usual suspects” who would normally be chewing leather over statements like “a day when the true princess inside of her shines through?” Can’t you just hear Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft and the highest paid female executive in America, asking that a board meeting be delayed while she dusts off her glass slippers? (I wonder if she used them to kick in the glass ceiling.)
Many thoughts crossed my mind while reading the balance of Helliker’s article, but the most salient was the recent news event surrounding Inez Sainz, the self-proclaimed “sexiest Mexican sports reporter.” Sainz, as you know by now, felt “offended” by comments made during a locker room interview with players on the New York Jets. Well, at first she felt offended, but after the incident took on a life of its own, she changed her tune and said the treatment she received was never out of line.
How disappointing! If I was Sainz and a group of testosterone high men did not look at me with a little leer in their eyes, I WOULD BE offended.
I’m all for equal rights, but truthfully, I don’t think women belong in men’s locker rooms immediately before/during/or after a game. Actually, I don't see a need for any sportscaster – male or female - to be in the locker room at those times.
Talk to players on the field or wait until they have showered and are ready to leave the stadium. The “ten-minute cooling off period” is a joke. I can’t think of a sport that is harder on the body than football. If these guys want to shed their equipment and dance naked to “We Are the Champions,” they should be free to do so without worrying that some female in tight jeans (or a business suit) is going to invade their cave.
The media rarely reports on men in women’s locker rooms, which the WNBA allows, but I would venture to guess that male reporters don’t show up in tight tee shirts and crotch enhancing slacks. Clothing sends a message and the wearer had better be prepared for the response.
If women want to have their cake and eat it, too, then they have to be willing to invite men to the party. Equality really isn’t “one size fits all.” Just as Macy’s and Sak’s have departments for women of differing ages, sizes and styles so, too, must life be accommodating of the differences between the sexes.
Now, with that being said, can anyone get me into the New York Giants’ locker room? I promise not to complain about anything that is said to me – unless nothing is said to me!