Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

That famous Irving Berlin song was first sung in 1946 by Ethel Merman and Frank Butler in the musical Annie Get Your Gun, but I thought about it tonight while watching NBC News with Lester Holt. The thought was prompted by a story on the USA Women’s Hockey Team which is boycotting the Women’s World Hockey Championships this week because they want to be treated similarly to their male counterparts. As a father of two talented, wonderful, beautiful daughters just like my coauthors, let me pontificate for a minute on the topic of gender equality.

  • Men and women are different for a very good reason…thank God!
  • Women do some things better; Men do other things better…neither means either gender is better.
  • No two women are the same and no two men are the same…gender class is an easy way to generalize which allows us to avoid things we don’t like to admit about either class. For example, despite the fact that men as a group are physically stronger than women, some women are physically stronger than some men. The two women who recently graduated from the elite Army Ranger school are proof of that…if that assertion bothers you, take a look in the mirror softie.
  • Title IX is a great thing…if we didn’t have it we might not have seen the talents of Mia Hamm, Lisa Leslie, Jessica Mendoza, or Missy Franklin among many, many others. Sometimes we just have to level the playing field because of decades of stilted thinking and the good old boy network (they call it that for a reason.) If you disagree, think about the fact that everyone my age complains about only having three channels on TV when growing up. Not much different than only having three college sports teams that get any funding or TV time. OK, it’s a stretch, but I think the point is valid—diversity is good for the athletes and the fans.
  • My feelings on Title IX do not apply to professional sports. Market forces should drive professional sports regardless of gender—people just want to see the highest level of play in the sports that entertain them. So far, the highest level of play in women’s sports such as the WNBA, LPGA, etc have done better than less than top level play in men’s sports failures like the USFL, XFL, etc. The market can handle it.

I’m biased like everyone else so take my thoughts for what they are, but I don’t think my bias effects the main point of this post: everybody should have a chance to show how they stack up against the standards of the field regardless of gender…or race, religion, etc. Don’t change the standards—just change your stubborn mind. I know all six of our daughters have benefitted from fathers who tell them they can do anything. It’s really rewarding to watch them try especially when they do better than we did.

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