It's going to sound hyperbolic, but that's not intentional. I truly believe this may be the silliest opinion article I have ever taken the time to read from a major, affluent, prestigious publication. The Atlantic recently platformed a Seattle-based writer named Maggie Mertens who authored a piece so irrational, so poorly evidenced, so principally absurd, that had I not been familiar with the magazine, I would have been sure it was some sort of satirical parody.
But it wasn't. Mertens actually wrote an article opposing sex-segregated sports entitled, "Separating Sports by Sex Doesn't Make Sense."
Except, obviously, it does. It always has. And to promote otherwise is to invite, intentional or not, the abolition of female participation in all meaningful athletic events. Mertens writes,
"Maintaining this [gender] binary in youth sports reinforces the idea that boys are inherently bigger, faster, and stronger than girls in a competitive setting – a notion that's been challenged by scientists for years."
What "scientists?" Well, the article doesn't really say, but we can assume they are likely the same ones continuing to promote outdoor mask-wearing and school closures for COVID. Perhaps that's unnecessarily dismissive, but take the examples Mertens gives when making her case:
"One recent small study in Norway found no innate sex difference when it came to youth-soccer players' technical skills. The researchers hypothesized that the gap they did find between girls and boys was likely due to socialization, not biology."
First, notice that dishonest sleight of hand to reference technical skills. Technical proficiency in skills like dribbling a soccer ball isn't the reason behind sex-segregated sports. Mertens knows that, so there must be a reason she attempts to pretend that it is. Secondly, observe that the cited study examines "youth" programs, meaning pre-pubescent ages.
Three years ago when my oldest daughter played co-ed youth soccer, she was one of the more aggressive players on the team. She's always been a fairly skinny girl, but nonetheless she towered over many of the boys and we had quite a few laughs watching her bully them. Then something called puberty happened.
Last year in co-ed junior high soccer those same boys now towered over her. And even those who were shorter were far stockier, and much stronger. The same girl who once boldly waded into a soccer scrum now timidly stood on the outskirts – the ball was being kicked much harder, the elbows were coming with far greater force, and the intensity of the boys had noticeably increased multi-fold.
Any parent of a junior high-aged daughter knows that the rules that separate the sexes in athletic events are there to protect girls – not just their physical safety from injury, but also their ability to participate fully. On my daughter's co-ed junior high team, she only gets playing time because the league isn't designed to be overly competitive. And the same is true for every other female on the team. Post-puberty, the girls simply cannot compete at the same level physically, regardless of the pseudo-science Mertens offers:
"And though sex differences in sports show advantages for men, researchers today still don't know how much of this to attribute to biological difference versus the lack of support provided to women athletes to reach their highest potential."
No. My daughter has all the support in the world to reach her potential. That still won't give her the bone density of the neighbor boy. Again, who are these "researchers?" This is all painfully demonstrable to the point that it almost seems a silly waste of time to do so.
- The women's 100 meter dash world record is 10.49 seconds, held by Florence Griffith Joyner since 1988. The men's 100 meter dash high school record is 9.98 seconds.
- The Olympic champion U.S. women's soccer team was famously blasted in a head-to-head match-up against a Dallas-area boys 15 and under team, 5-2.
- The average length of an LPGA golf course is about 1000 yards shorter than the length of a PGA course. Every course will have a set of "red/ladies tees," on average 30-40 yards closer to the hole than others.
- A male MMA fighter "identifying" as a woman not only knocked out his weaker female competitor, but infamously fractured her skull.
None of these realities are or should be demeaning to women. They are the logical outcomes of physical and physiological differences between the male and female body. What demeans women is to subject them to the expectation that despite being born with less muscle mass, less bone density, less lung capacity, and a host of other meaningful differences, they must compete on the same field as men for it to be fair.
Politics and self-worship have corrupted and warped our culture's brain. In just a few short years we have gone from Title IX's provision for women's divisions of sports to suggesting that those very divisions, "don't make sense." Mertens hints at the real reason why when she observes,
"GenZers are more likely than members of previous generations to reject a strict gender binary altogether."
Imagine that. The farcical gender theory we have been facilitating in young minds is blowing up in our faces with real world consequences that will deprive and deny the very people it pretends to help.