The Serena Williams Scam

{What better more timely topic to kick off a blog about the toxic state of identity politics and those who practice it?}

Women’s sports are great and great for women. They need to exist. I actually love watching Serena Williams and have admired her athleticism and grace and the fact that she speaks French when she wins at Roland Garos. It is easy to get swept up by it all.  But let’s not lose perspective on reality here…

There is no gender equality/“equity” in sports and never can be.  There is, however, a toxic and delusional form of female entitlement on full display if you look. It is a gold-digging scam that relies on the illusion of pervasive anti-female sexism and occasional dramas as distractions to hide what is really happening.

The 2018 US Open drama began with Serena down a set and on pace to lose the championship to a 20-year-old upstart, Naomi Osaka, a half-Japanese, half-Haitian woman with dual citizenship in the US and Japan. Naomi grew up idolizing Serena, and now was facing her idol on the other side of the net. Umpire Carlos Ramos saw Serena’s coach gesturing to Serena and gave her a warning for coaching, a code violation. Serena claimed she wasn’t being coached, but her coach after the match admitted he was coaching her and said “Everyone does it.”  Serena’s subsequent tirades after the warning cost her first a point for racquet abuse and then a whole game for verbal abuse of Ramos. All according to rules she was well aware of. Her tirade continued after the match and completely overshadowed Osaka’s well-earned victory, leaving Osaka in tears amid widespread booing. She then tried to be magnanimous but it was too little, too late.

Serena claims that men are not penalized for breaking the rules, and the male umpire was being sexist. She is fighting for women’s rights! Bullshit. We have not seen a man get a game penalty because we have never seen a man who felt entitled to ignore the warning and the point penalty.  Apparently men are smart enough to know they don’t want a game penalty and they need to shut up and play. 

Even John McEnroe who was penalized, suspended and fined often for his temper got it under control often enough to win a match, but he was a different era. Among today’s top men, Rafael Nadal has received coaching violations and a time violation but checked his temper after an initial outburst and Novak Djokovic has broken his racket all just while I have had the TV on. Nadal’s violations came from the same umpire who supposedly picked on Serena just because she was a woman! And let’s not forget Serena’s outburst history with women officials and the disrespect she showed her female opponent on Saturday by making it all about her. Gender card fail. 

Billie Jean King, other feminists, fans and the mainstream media rushed to Serena’s defense, decrying the supposed sexism of it all.  Others have implied that racism was a motivation, but that makes little sense since the beneficiary of the point and game penalties, Osaka, is also non-white. Meanwhile tennis officials calmly assessed the facts about what had happened and did the right thing: they affirmed the ump’s rulings and fined Serena for her unprofessional behavior. But days later both Williams and King were doubling down on the sexism charges. 

Apparently feminism now stands for the “right” of women to break rules with impunity and the “right” of women to act like petulant children. Not to mention the “right” of women to use their children as human shields by playing the “mom card.” Yes, she did. The infantilization of women, which includes indulging them like children and shielding them from reality and consequences, used to be considered by feminists to be an “oppression,” part of “patriarchy,”  something to be opposed and destroyed. Now it is standard operating procedure. Sad. 

But it gets worse. The actual dirty little sexist secret of tennis is that women have been pandered to for decades with a safe space called “women’s tennis” and that we infantilize them by pretending it is “equal.” It is a feminist ideological fantasy come to life, but it is not real. This incident and the recent accusations of tennis sexism over shirt-changing on court are sideshows that define and protect the safe space.

We have all heard of the Battle of the Sexes, the 1973 mismatch between a deadly serious King, then a top woman player in her prime, and Bobby Riggs, ranked #1 in the 1940s, but at the time a 50+ year-old out of shape heavy drinker who was essentially just clowning around for the money. King beat Riggs, as we all know. This event has been cherry-picked and played up by feminists as definitive to give the illusion that men and women are of roughly equal ability and that men’s and women’s tennis are separate but “equal.” It was actually a fluke.

What feminists have consigned to the memory hole is that there were two other Battles of the Sexes.  The #1 woman in 1973, Margaret Court, was embarrassed by Riggs before his match with King, and in 1992 Martina Navratilova lost badly to Jimmy Connors despite advantageous rules (Connors only got one service attempt per point and Navratilova played to the doubles court). The events of 1973 are now a decent film, Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs.  It actually pays lip service to Court’s loss, but of course focuses on King’s victory as the definitive, real battle.

Face it, if Serena had to play against men in her career, no one would know her name.  John McEnroe famously said last year that Serena would probably be #700 in the world if she was ranked with the men and angry feminists demanded he apologize for telling the truth and violating their safe space bubble. He broke the rules by not keeping up the facade of “equal.” We do not know Serena’s actual ranking among men. It isn’t calculated. We do know that Serena and her sister Venus were separately beaten handily by #203, a German named Karsten Braasch, after they issued a challenge to any man ranked at least #200 at the Australian Open in 1998. The Universal Tennis Rating indexes the level of players globally across genders, ages and all competitive venues, based on recent match results. The UTR scale goes from 1 for a beginner to 16.5, for a pro with a perfect record. The top men’s champions, like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, have universal tennis ratings of 16+. Serena’s is 13, which means she is competitive with male college players.

Despite this mismatch in ability feminists have pushed for and won equal pay for women based on the “principle” of equal pay for equal work. But that is a lie, too. Men play best of 5 sets and women play best of 3, meaning men actually play significantly more tennis to win a tournament. Men earn more television revenue for the sport. And regardless of the number of sets, the per set work and stress of defeating a male opponent with their more powerful serves is greater. The hundreds of men who are better players than Serena and lose in the early rounds of men’s tournaments make less money than her simply because they are men and lack vaginas. Serena does less work than them at a lower skill level and makes more money. That is real sexism and inequity that Serena has profited from. Sexism she feels entitled to. Sexism feminism created. The irony is strong.

This is also a problem with the overly entitled women of the WNBA and the Women’s National Soccer Team in the US.  The WNBA, consistently in the red with an estimated $52 million in total revenue, pays top players just over $100,000. Mainstream women do not support it and it plays to mostly empty arenas. The NBA is incredibly profitable with over $7.4 billion in revenue last season and pays its top players millions. Even if the quality of the game was comparable, the economics do not even begin to compare. If the WNBA could afford 50% of revenue in player’s salaries like the NBA, a highly questionable proposition, that only works out to an average of about $200,000 per player. Yet feminists insist there should be “pay equity.” That is like saying the “manager” of a kid’s lemonade stand should be paid the same as the manager of the local pub. Delusional.

Similarly with soccer. Though not as lucrative as the NBA, the professional men players earn more money because they create more value. The women’s team claims they are the best team in the country, having won the (Women’s) World Cup (another safe space for women) while the men lost early in the real thing, and therefore should be paid the best. This logic is either deliberately dishonest or delusional.  The Women’s National Team practices by scrimmaging club teams of high-school age boys—and losing to them. They would be crushed in a “battle of the sexes.”

But ultimately this carefully constructed illusion of separate but equal sports, this safe space bubble, well-defended by the mainstream media and feminists, while lucrative to some individual women, is damaging to women as a group. It is infantilizing. They believe it all credulously like children believe in the tooth fairy. Serena believes it. Some must know, but still dishonestly pretend to believe just to get that quarter they are entitled to. Credulity and dishonesty are part and parcel of that manifestation of toxic femininity known as today’s feminism. And reality is kept at bay by entitled outbursts of cognitive dissonance like Serena’s.  They are sideshows to distract from the fact that the gold-digging goes on apace.

Serena owes that umpire an apology. Liar and thief indeed. This is the moment when a truly great woman worthy of the adulation of little girls would step up and show some character. And principled, adult feminists, if there are any left, would reclaim their cause from their delusional, entitled and childish sisters.  But I am not holding my breath.

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