By Renee Martin
An editorial written by Asher Price that appeared in the New York Times expressed concern for the number of fans that the WNBA gets on game days compared to the NBA. His suggestion for gaining more fans for the women’s professional basketball team is to lower the rims. This seems like an answer to a problem that isn’t actually related to the problem. Yes, it’s true that the WNBA doesn’t have as many audience members or fans as the NBA, but that isn’t necessarily connected to the fact that professional women basketball players don’t dunk as much as professional men basketball players. Lowering the rim for the WNBA is an unnecessary action in order to gain fans.
Price’s article expressed a very interesting viewpoint, “Currently, the women’s game relies on jump shots, which translate to lower shooting percentages and a more workaday style. In a sense, women are deprived of the opportunity to fully express their raw athleticism.”
How does dunking, which isn’t even a key factor in basketball, express someone’s athleticism?
Price’s article says that dunking is a staple in men’s basketball and that lowering the rim will make it a staple in women’s basketball, but not only is dunking not a staple in basketball it also is not the ultimate expression of whether or not someone is good at basketball. It makes no sense to lower the rim of a woman’s basketball hoop with the idea that dunking will increase fan size. People don’t watch men’s basketball because they can dunk. People watch men’s basketball because our society says that basketball is a masculine sport and girl’s playing it isn’t as entertaining. Even at North the audience for boy’s basketball is more than the girl’s when the girl’s are the ones winning the majority of their games.
Lowering a woman’s requirements makes their accomplishments lower. If the rims are lowered and more women can dunk then their accomplishment of that dunk isn’t going to be valued as much. A voice echos among the stands of a WNBA court saying, “Well, it’s easier for her to do that with the rims so low.”
If a woman is athletic enough to be a professional basketball player then she knows her athleticism to work hard and one day be able to dunk. Athletes aren’t athletes because the standards were lowered for them, they are athletes because they have worked hard to exceed those standards.
Just because someone is a woman does not limit them to the genetic myth of women having less physical abilities than men and therefore needing lower standards. The idea of lowering the rims for women in order to have a more entertaining game for spectators is insulting and a degrading idea.