There is perhaps no more blatant proof of the sexism still alive and well in the United States today than the comments section of an Instagram post from a popular sports media outlet such as ESPN or Bleacher Report, supporting the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Seriously, take a stroll down to Bleacher Report’s post about, say, the Washington Mystics winning the league’s championship. You will find an onslaught of comments from men – supported by hundreds of likes – such as “And no one cares,” “People watch the WNBA?” and “Now they can clean and cook thank god.”
This slander is likely founded on the belief that they could somehow beat a WNBA player in a game of basketball. So one day, an idea popped into my head. I am 18 years old and played varsity ball in high school. I contacted Chapman women’s basketball head coach Carol Jue with a third-grade science experiment brewing in my head, aimed directly at the fellas scratching their nether regions on their home couches and cackling as they drop kitchen joke after kitchen joke on professional athletes.
Hypothesis: If I walked into the Harold Hutton Sports Center one night and did a shooting drill with the Chapman women’s team, I would lose. Spectacularly. Procedure: On Oct. 24, a pleasant Thursday night, I was put at the very front of the line in a game of “knock-out.” My shot from the free-throw line clanked off the left side of the rim. I gathered the ball, turned my head back towards the basket and watched helplessly as an attempt from the woman behind me dropped through the net.
Conclusion: I was the first one out in this shooting game – the only male. I did lose. Spectacularly. After practice had finished, I struck up a conversation with senior Marissa Dunn. All her life, she said, she’s been battling a negative perception of women in sports. She and others on the team have worked twice as hard to try and balance the scale.
Suggesting that women’s basketball “isn’t a sport,” as internet trolls often do, is idiotic. At practice Thursday, I watched one member of Chapman’s team drill something like 10 out of 12 three-pointers from alternating spots beyond the arc. Draymond Green, a three-time NBA champion, has said he learns more from watching the WNBA than his own league because the women have a better understanding of fundamentals.
So to guys about to type that “I’d still beat them” comment right now: no you wouldn’t. You’d get smacked. Take the time to actually watch a Panthers game or a Mystics game; then maybe you’ll actually see that both women’s and men’s basketball are games, forms of art, to be appreciated.