Tag Archives: women

Why Women Hate Sports

All women hate sports.

OK, this is not entirely true.  “All” women do not hate sports, just as “all” men do not love sports, just as “All That” was not all that “all that” (in fact, it was mediocre programming at best).  But, as a writer, I must make sweeping generalizations to stir up fake controversy and drive enraged traffic to this site.1 So, I stand by my claim: ALL WOMEN HATE SPORTS…with a few clarifying points:

  • When I say “all women”, I’m referring mostly to the following female groups: those who get bedazzled manicures, those who know how to bake a pie, and those who own more than two cats.  These groups are mutually exclusive.2
  • When I say “sports”, I’m referring to the three professional sports that the average American male watches most: Baseball, football, and basketball.  Hockey doesn’t count, because it is ruled by Canadians and all women have a soft spot for Canadians because of Bryan Adams.
  • When I say “hate”, I really mean it, guys.  Women do not tolerate sports.  They actively hate sports with an overwhelming rage equivalent to missing a sample sale.  It’s that serious.

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it: Why do women hate sports?  Is it a feminist repudiation against a misogynistic society that unfairly celebrates a jock culture?  No.  It’s actually far simpler than that.  There are  four clear-cut reasons why women hate sports.  If we understand these reasons, then perhaps we can save sports for women.

Jealousy. This is not where I say that women hate sports because they’d rather be spending time with their man.  Don’t flatter yourself, guys.  Women don’t want to spend more time with men. Instead, the thing women are most envious about is how much men actually care about sports.  If Cavs fans in Cleveland were asked to choose between keeping their wives or bringing LeBron James back, how many guys would leave their wives?  ALL OF THEM.  Men can rattle off facts about the Cowboys’ winning percentage on the road, but they can’t remember the date of their anniversary.  They can tell you the name of the Cubs’ fifth starter, but they can’t recall the name of their middle child.  To women, it often seems like men are programmed to cry only at a funeral, a birth of a child, or the aftermath of Game 7 (oh, and Toy Story 3, unless they are robots).  Men care about sports in ways that defy logic: They will develop a routine (the Red Sox will win if I sit on the left side of the couch, but not the right side).  They will chant in unison.  They will scream at the television.  And they will grow a playoff beard.  (And it’s always a disgusting one.)

Obesity. How do you watch a sporting event?  Sometimes sitting down.  Sometimes standing up.  Either way, you’re getting fat.  Yes, it’s ironic that sport inspires men to gouge themselves on beer and nachos, thus turning them into flabby masses that do not resemble the heroes they so admire on the field (unless they are a fan of CC Sabathia).  If we didn’t have sports, would men actually stress-eat a bucket of chicken wings every Sunday?  Hopefully not.  Our sports-watching culture has led to a corpulent male population chock-full of beer-bellied dudes and Type 2 diabetes.  Women, at least, have a good excuse for getting fat (We carry your children, dammit! Let us have our whoopee pies!).  Men have no such excuse.  The reason men are fat is because of sports.  And women hate them for it.

Cheaters. It’s hard for women to like professional athletes because 99% of pro athletes are adulterous cheaters.  Well, that might be an exaggeration… 98% of pro athletes are cheaters, and women hate men who are unfaithful.  Women classify cheaters in the same category of “shitty man” that includes murderers, rapists, and wife-beaters.  On the other hand, male fans have the moral fortitude of a perforated sponge.  Men will forgive their fellow shitty man as long as he delivers in the clutch, but women will never, ever, ever forget that the guy cheated on his pregnant wife.  Sorry, Tiger.  Unfortunately, our sports heroes of today (Kobe, Favre, A-Rod) are all veritable, no-good, douchebag cheaters.  Throw in a Rape-lisberger and a heartbroken Eva Longoria, and women will turn their backs on pro athletes.  All it takes is one bad apple taking pictures of his junk with a cameraphone, and no women will root for this lot of shitty men.

Crotch Grabbers. There is only one thing that women hate more than cheaters, and this is watching men grab their own crotches.  In an average baseball game, crotchshots are shown almost as often as something interesting happening (finally… a single…).  Come on.  Does an extra mini-appendage really need that much maintenance?  Players — we know that you are a man.  You don’t have to prove it to us. And since you have millions of dollars, perhaps you could invest in some medication for your below-the-belt ailments.  Athletes should only be playing with one ball, thank you very much, and that ball should be made of leather.

So, to Roger Goodell, Bud Selig, David Stern, and all men out there, if you want to convince women to like sports, please take the following advice: (1) Players: Soap.  Use it down there.  (2) Owners: Discourage your players from marriage.  Women will put up with philanderers (this is why women still love George Clooney), but they will not put up with cheaters.  (3) Fans: Lay off the dip.  You’re getting fat.  And even though it sounds terrible now, just consider two words: veggie platter. (4) Boyfriends, Husbands, and Fathers: Care about your women as if they were on your fantasy team.  And if that doesn’t work, well, then just trade us. Please.

1. This crappy, “gotcha” headline is an ode to other articles that make ridiculous sweeping generalizations of entire peoples: “Why You’re Not Married” or “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“.

2. I estimate that these three groups make up close to 60% of all women.  But “60% of women hate sports” is not a good headline.

NB: I love sports.  But I do hate crotch grabs.

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Filed under Arts and Entertainment

Glass Ceilings Could Be Shattered With Glass Bathroom Walls

It’s a known fact that finance is a male-dominated industry.  There’s Buffett, and Soros, and Madoff, and the banker on Deal or No Deal: all men.  In the sausagefest of finance, the only female presence is the wife, the mistress, or the diversity-hire (who, even if she is competent, will be forever tarnished by the suggestion of affirmative action).

Of course, this goes beyond finance — there are far more male CEOs, politicians, movie producers, and leaders not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world.  There are no women in the Forbes 50 richest Americans who made her money outside of inheritance.  Even though women make up half of the world’s population, most of the power is held by men.

Social scientists have long theorized about the existing power gap between men and women.  Some explanations are cultural.  Some are steered in tradition.  And some resort to “biological differences.”  That is, women build consensus; men build tall buildings to showcase their phallic power.

My theory is simple: it’s partly biological, and partly environmental.

I believe that men are more powerful because they pee standing up.

Think about it.  From a very young age, men are trained to pee into a urinal.  They are brought up in a world with literally no walls: there is very little privacy between them.  And if you head into a stall, everyone knows what kind of business is going on.  The result?  Reduced inhibitions from a world with no boundaries, and greater camaraderie with your fellow man.

Meanwhile, there are metaphoric and physical walls that separate women from each other.  The physical act of releasing waste is incredibly private.  Outside of her feet, you don’t tend to see other women in the act of peeing.  I even cringe when I write “releasing waste” — because unlike men, most women don’t feel as comfortable talking about these things.  At least not with strangers.

So, from this theory, men are more comfortable in their own skin, more sociable with strangers, and more likely to take risks.  Women are walled in, siloed, and discomfited by others knowing all of their business.  It’s no wonder why men enjoy finance: they’re used to whipping ’em out and measuring ’em, whereas women don’t/can’t really do that.

Of course, like any good theory, there are its notable exceptions.  I’m guessing that Oprah would have no qualms about peeing in front of other women.  And there are incredibly awkward yet successful men who don’t fit the mold.  In 2006, I got rejected by then-college-president Larry Summers when I asked if I could “lei” him at a campus BBQ/luau — I was holding a lei of flowers… He just turned around and walked away.

Doesn’t seem like a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin… Perhaps some of these things, we simply have to blame on inherent biological differences.

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Take a Risk, Take a Chance, Make a Change*

* Yes, the title is from a Kelly Clarkson song.  I’m not ashamed.

During the summer before my senior year of college, I did an internship at a large investment bank in New York.  To get the job, I professed my love for DCF models and calculating betas.  I made myself sound like the most interesting person in the world: “I enjoy reading Reuters.com, making data tables in Excel, and taking nonlinear walks along the beach.  I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer A&W.  That company’s got quite the cash flow.”

I suppose it worked.  I accepted an offer from a prestigious bank in midtown Manhattan, working in equity research for the summer of 2006.

salesI thought I would need a few weeks to determine whether I’d find my calling in finance.  But after just a few days, I already hated it.  I hated the dress code, the formality, the hierarchy, and the Big Brother-ness of it all.  I hated the work, which teetered between mundane and soul-sucking.  Most days, I just felt like a highly-paid supermarket cashier, plugging in numbers and being rude.  I quickly learned that there were three tenets of business: 1) Jerkiness is a coveted personality trait…  2) “Fuck” can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, insult, directive, and occasionally, term of endearment…  3) Lastly, in order to fit in, you have to be strongly opinionated about HR, women leaders, and taxes.  (The opinion must also be negative, although you can “support them in concept.”)

Throughout the summer, I felt like I was part of a giant sociological experiment, where you throw fifty impressionable college kids into (what I would consider) the worst job in the world (except, maybe, dairy farming) and record their reaction.  The people who loved it also seemed to hate it as well, but they had all accepted that hatefulness was part of the job — therefore it was palatable.  And for a summer at least, it was palatable, especially given the fact that we were well-paid, well-fed, and living in New York with an unlimited reign over the four-letter word dictionary.

lincolnNearing the end of my two-month stint, I had to meet with HR (ugh) to discuss full-time opportunities.  The bank was well-known for only hiring first-years from its summer intern class.  Even though I knew, deep down, that I didn’t want to do this for two full years, I still wanted to get an offer.  I still wanted to have a job lined up, even though I swore I wouldn’t take it.  I wouldn’t.  Even though it was a prestigious firm.  I wouldn’t.  Even though I’d built up a strong network.  I wouldn’t.  Even though I’d get to live comfortably in New York City.  I wouldn’t.  Or would I?

During my session with HR, I was bombarded with a barrage of questions that I hadn’t prepared for: “What are your three biggest weaknesses?  What would you title your autobiography?  Which historical figure do you identify with most?”  To the last question, I blurted out “Abraham Lincoln,” after a long, awkward silence in which I contemplated whether Chairman Mao had any redeeming qualities.  (For some reason, he’s the first “historical figure” that pops into my head.)  After trying to justify to HR that Abe was a perfectly legitimate answer (“I see myself in him through his honesty…his passion for humanity…his log cabin roots”), I realized that I would always be better at BS-ing about Lincoln than modeling cash flows.

So when I got my full-time offer, I turned it down.  I took another job, still in finance, but at a media company where I could learn to hone my creative talents.   And now, two years later, as I’m coming to the end of my term, I have to make another decision — whether to stay in my backup plan, or to go ahead and do something crazy, like compare myself to Abraham Lincoln.  Like eschew a stable finance career for the peripatetic life of a starving writer.  I’m leaning towards the latter, because I’m finally ready to give it a real shot now.  And I do truly believe that all things will work itself out in the end…

After all, the full-time offer I turned down, in the winter of 2006, was from Lehman Brothers.

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Will Today’s ‘Stupid’ Become Tomorrow’s ‘Smart’?

Back in November, both presidential candidates acknowledged that we had to reform our education system. Like most everything else, Obama and McCain naturally disagreed on how to solve this issue. Perhaps we need to pay teachers more and get the best-qualified educators to head our classrooms. Perhaps we need to have more vouchers and charter schools to foster competition. Perhaps we just need parents to get more involved in building shoebox dioramas and helping their kids with algebra problems.

Or, perhaps we’re just getting dumber. (After all, we elected George W. Bush twice. Enough said).

Now that Obama’s education team is in place, here is my billion-dollar proposal: tell smart people to start making babies. Seriously. Set up some mood music in grad school dorms, dim the lighting in the labs, and arrange for some conjugal visits at the space station. Let’s do everything we can to encourage reading and breeding amongst the nation’s intellectual elite.

Why? Consider this: over the past few decades, we have seen significant declines in the birth rates across the country. As more and more young people started going to college, and women became more prevalent in the workplace, births in the U.S. have naturally declined. With that, the composition of mothers has also changed:

“Fertility tends to decline as education level increases. Women may put off marriage and children to further their education, then to get established in the labor force. Women age 40 to 44 with no high school education had about 2.5 children in 2004, compared with 1.6 children among women with a graduate or professional degree.” – Mary Kent, Population Reference Bureau

So keeping this in mind, let’s look at the following charts from the National Center for Health Statistics, which show the birth rates by state in 2002.

In this graphic, the blue states are the most fertile, while the green states are the most sterile (somewhat ironic).  We can see that the states with the highest birth rates are typically in the Midwest and South, whereas East Coasters and Californians are apparently too busy to procreate.  The state with the highest birth rate was Utah (20.9 for every 1,000 people), which may not be all that surprising. (Go to full report)

Now here is a graph from a U.S. Census report, on the percentage of college graduates by state:

So it looks like the states with the most college grads are also the states which tend to have the lowest birth rates.

Hmm…

Consider if this trend continues: the least-educated areas of the country are popping out babies like hotcakes, while the sterile Ivy Leaguers in the Northeast are busy trading mortgage-backed securities on Wall Street. Thus, the composition of the American population is skewed towards those with parents who are less educated. One may argue about the degree to which parents’ educational attainment affects their children’s test scores, but there is undoubtedly a correlation between the two. And while Texans and Idahoans may rightly argue that causality cannot be determined by a few colorful graphs, the data is in line with what we know: women who attain less education have more babies. There is a greater likelihood then that their kids will get less education than children born to snooty PhD candidates in Washington. And their kids will have more kids and more kids, while the slice of snooty intellectuals gets smaller and smaller.

So what can turn this around? In the end, we need to build a universal culture that values learning, instead of a dumb-is-cool culture that values a self-righteous idiocracy. We need to get students excited about education, and close the achievement gap that too often divides along racial and socioeconomic lines. We may need to rehaul our schools, implement student incentive programs, or pay our teachers more…

And we could also start encouraging smart people to make some babies, too.

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Filed under Politics, Random

Pretty Soon, Today’s ‘Stupid’ Will Be Tomorrow’s ‘Smart’

Last week, both presidential candidates acknowledged that we had to reform our education system. Like most everything else, Obama and McCain naturally disagreed on how to solve this issue. Perhaps we need to pay teachers more and get the best-qualified educators to head our classrooms. Perhaps we need to have more vouchers/charter schools to foster competition. Maybe we just need parents to get more involved in building shoebox dioramas and helping their kids with algebra problems.

Or, perhaps we’re just getting dumber. (After all, we elected George W. Bush twice. Enough said).

Consider this theory: over the past few decades, we have seen significant declines in the birth rates across the country. As more and more young people started going to college, and women became more prevalent in the workplace, births in the U.S. have naturally declined:

“Fertility tends to decline as education level increases. Women may put off marriage and children to further their education, then to get established in the labor force. Women age 40 to 44 with no high school education had about 2.5 children in 2004, compared with 1.6 children among women with a graduate or professional degree.” – Mary Kent, Population Reference Bureau

So keeping this in mind, let’s look at the following charts from the National Center for Health Statistics, which show the birth rates by state in 1990. The chart on the top shows the birth rate, while the chart on the bottom shows the growth in births from 1990 to 2002. The state with the highest birth rate was Utah (20.9 for every 1,000 people), far surpassing Texas as the place where the most babies are made (or at least birthed). (Go to full report)

The states with the highest birth rates are typically in the Midwest and South, whereas East Coasters and Californians are apparently too busy to procreate. Unsurprisingly, these are the same areas where birth rates have declined the most in the past ten years, whereas states like Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Georgia, and North Carolina have stepped up their baby-making game.

Now here is a graph from a U.S. Census report, on the percentage of college graduates by state:

So, the states with the most college grads are also the states which tend to have the lowest birth rates.

Hmm…

Consider if this trend continues: the least-educated areas of the country are popping out babies like hotcakes, while the sterile Ivy Leaguers in the Northeast are busy trading mortgage-backed securities on Wall Street. Thus, the composition of the American population is skewed towards those with parents who are less educated. One may argue about the degree to which parents’ educational attainment affects their children’s test scores, but there is undoubtedly a correlation between the two. And while Texans and Idahoans may rightly argue that causality cannot be determined by a few colorful graphs, the data is in line with what we know: women who attain less education have more babies. There is a greater likelihood then that their kids will get less education than children born to snooty PhD candidates in Washington. And their kids will have more kids and more kids, while the slice of snooty intellectuals gets smaller and smaller.

So what can turn this around? In the end, we need to build a universal culture that values learning, instead of a culture that values moose huntin’ and a self-righteous idiocracy. We need to get students excited about education, and close the achievement gap that too often divides along racial and socioeconomic lines. We may need to rehaul our schools, implement student incentive programs, or pay our teachers more…

And we could also start encouraging smart people to make some babies, too.

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Filed under News, Politics