As someone who has participated in an inexplicable number of sports throughout my life (in an attempt from my parents to redirect my untamed and relentless energy) there are observations I’ve made that have shaped the way I’ve viewed the gender discrepancy, and the overall competition between men and women.


First of all, the one that irks me the most, women are placed on a completely different scale to men which results in, time and time again, the complete disregard of women’s achievements. Sure, it’s true women are biologically muscularly and physically inferior to men. Their ability to grow muscle is weaker and there are many episodes in womens’ lives that cause for them to be at a weakness, such as periods, pregnancies and menopause. So women are weak and inconsistent? This is entirely the wrong conclusion. In any case, these aspects of women’s lives should gain them respect, it should heighten their accomplishments, make them more unbelievable, remarkable! But womens’ struggles have always been undermined. Female achievements should of course be celebrated; having an evolved world brings a cornucopia of new opportunities, but it’s time to realise a win for a woman can simply just be a win. The gender doesn’t need to be included. 


A moment that perfectly proves the ignorance of the public and media to women’s achievements, seeing them as lower and invalid, is in 2017 when a reporter stated that ‘“Sam [Querrey] is the first US semi-final player to reach a major semi-final since 2009”’, to which Andry Murray replied with ‘“male player”’, correcting the reporter. The biases are clear. Venus and Serena Williams are the most successful female tennis players of all time, and they are not included in this reporter's statistic, because they are simply disregarded. They have achieved far more success than Sam Querrey but yet his name is mentioned because he has the headstart in life that, as hard as any female tennis player may work, they could never attempt to reach the same level of respect: Sam Querrey is a man, and Serena and Venus are female tennis players, so they can barely be stuttered, or whispered or written in the same sentence together. They must always be separated into female and male achievements. They, for whatever reason, do not make claims to the same support or celebration. It adds to the overwhelming mindset some people seem to have of ‘Yes! Of course women can be successful, but they’re just playing in the kiddy pool, they’re winning easy races. The men are the ones doing the real work’. 


I also, however, think this mindset is cultivated. As feminism has weaned it’s way in and the old-age harassment has weaned it’s way out we’ve been left with these still silent moments of small reminders that nothing has really changed. Parents can only raise their children as they were raised, with the addition of everything they’ve learnt (which unsurprisingly can result in varying levels of morality and intelligence). This leaves ripples of the past evenly spaced throughout one’s upbringing, a reminder that people don’t really change all that much. The age old joke of everyone’s extremely insulting and crude Uncle echoes this, the fact that times have changed but the people of the past still remain. My point is, our beliefs and mindsets are ground into us by our innocent ears through flippant remarks or jokes, all we know and understand about gender is what our parents believe, or what our friends say, which is just what their parents believe. This cycle can let old smells sit and attract flies and complainant neighbours. We can learn, though, to understand better how things we say have an effect. From a young age people say at clubs comments to battle the sexes: “C’mon don’t let the boys win!”, “Girls against boys”, “The girls should go together” among others. Harmless and inoffensive remarks of course, not said in ill-spirit. But they pile onto this mindset that the most important thing in sports is your gender, that for a girl to beat a boy is incredulous, and that there needs to be this separation based never on skill, but something even more important: your gender. This brings me to question:

Why do we need to battle the sexes, can’t success just be success?