Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sorenstam, Golf, and Excellence

I am not a golfer, but I paid a little attention to this Annika Sorenstam issue. While not exactly certain how I should think about the matter, Andrew Sullivan has a good long paragraph on the matter:

"Yes, she’s sexy. But the way in which the public rallied behind Annika Sorenstam’s pioneering golf game was surely because of something else: she represented an old, pure form of feminism, a message that has been somewhat lost in the politically correct culture wars of the last decade or so. Sorenstam, after all, was not portraying herself as a victim of male oppression. She’s a fabulously successful sportswoman, a wealthy celebrity, and happily married. She wasn’t asking for special treatment in any way. She played exactly the same course, under exactly the same conditions as her male peers. Despite the fact that women’s courses are generally shorter and less troublesome than men’s, Sorenstam played with the big boys - and beat many of them. And she’s refreshingly free of political posturing. She’s not aiming to be a feminist icon. She’s trying to play golf as best she can against the best competition in the world. She is also not attempting to deny the obvious: that there are significant differences between men and women. The more we learn about the impact of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and the deeper our understanding of evolutionary psychology, the clearer it is that some differences - in physical strength, subtle mental attributes, emotional temperament - can vary with gender. That’s why we don’t have co-ed sprinting races or expect women to compete with men in the shot-put. But what we have in common as human beings vastly overwhelms what differentiates us as members of one gender or another. Sorenstam is a pioneer in accepting this, and reveling in it. She’s not indistinguishable from the men; but she is competitive with them. She’s different but equal. Americans are far more comfortable with this kind of social message - and for a good reason. It’s about integration, not separatism. It’s about personal achievement, not group grievance. It’s about merit, not complaint. It’s about golf, not politics. Sorenstam cannot be accused of claiming any "special rights." She’s embracing the old American virtue of doing your best against the best, and not letting anything - gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation - get in the way. That was once the core, simple, unifying message of the civil rights movement. Odd, isn’t it, that it took a Swedish female golfer to remind us."

Discussions - 1 Comment

I don’t know, I think it really harms the LPGA. I think it may be setting a bad trend. What about the 8th grade phenom that can drive the ball 280 yards already? She may be able to successfully compete with the men so why not? Then another superior women’s golfer comes along, there’s only going to be mnore in the future as women’s golf gains popularity. Pretty soon you’ll have an LPGA but 4 or 5 of the top women golfers will be playing with the men. So the LPGA becomes virtually worthless. It’s a possibility.

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