Feminists have long claimed that the game of tennis is an example of gender inequality where women players are punished more and earn less than their male counterparts. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, women are punished less and overpaid when compared to male players.
The gender equality controversy
The latest debate on gender equality was sparked after U.S. tennis player Serena Williams was fined by the umpire for verbal abuse during her U.S. Open Final against Naomi Osaka from Japan. She immediately called the umpire a liar and a thief, even threatening that he would never be an umpire at any of her games in the future.
“I have seen other men call other umpires several things. I am here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality… and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was sexist… He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me, it blows my mind,” News.Com.Au quotes her from the post-match press conference.
Though sounder minds on social media were of the opinion that Serena went overboard with the accusations, several feminists came to her defense saying how women are still being oppressed in tennis despite years of hard work from gender equality activists. However, such claims are false.
The New York Times did an analysis of Grand Slam matches and found that men were fined 1,517 times while women were only fined 535 times for the Grand Slam tournaments held between 1998 and 2018. And when it comes to fines for verbal abuse, men were fined 344 times, while women were only fined 140 times.
And this begs the question as to why feminists are claiming that women are treated unfairly when data clearly shows that it is men who bear the majority of fines. Either they did not bother to spend the time to check the data or they are flat out lying and carry a hidden agenda.
The reality of income inequality
Even though men’s games bring in more revenue for advertisers from the number of views and more time on-screen, they earn the same as women. This is not equality at work. However, modern feminists argue that female players earn less solely because the tennis industry is sexist and rigged against women.
Male tennis players attract the most viewers and advertisers and generate the most money when compared to female players. But Serena Williams does not pull in the same number of viewers and advertisements as Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal on a consistent basis.
In fact, if she were to attract more attention than they do, Serena would eventually be able to make more money than either of the male players, just the same way female models are paid more than male models. But to pull in fewer viewers and advertisers than their male counterparts while demanding to be paid more is an inequality where women are overpaid for producing inferior results to men. That is condescending to women, in general.
And finally, if feminists truly want gender equality in tennis, why not campaign to abolish the male/female separation of matches? Or make all women’s matches go the full five rounds, if needed. More time on court means more profits for the TV stations, which would equate to more pay for the players.
That would be true gender equality and would solve the issue of income discrimination. However, most feminists want to reduce men’s match times, thereby resulting in lower revenue for those hosting the events. These kinds of solutions might work on today’s college campuses, but they will not be accepted on grounds where performance is the final word.