There are over 160 million females “missing” from Asia’s population. That’s more than the entire female population of the United States. And gender imbalance—which is mainly the result of sex selective abortion—is no longer strictly an Asian problem. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, in Eastern Europe, and even among some groups in the United States, couples are making sure at least one of their children is a son. So many parents now select for boys that they have skewed the sex ratio at birth of the entire world.
http://marahvistendahl.com/index.php/book/ Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
Mark Steyn is a strong tonic, according to quite a few some even predisposed to like what he says. One of his views on this subject, to be found at KILLING HER SOFTLY (http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/4205/30/)is that often women are doing the ‘selecting,’ although given the environment these selections are made, the choice to women seems severely limited.
And speaking of limited choices, here’s one that I would have difficulty making: Should women athletes be restricted regarding what they can and cannot wear? Julie Bindel makes a persuasive argument on this issue in Standpoint: On the Track: the Great Olympics Cover-up http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/3930/full . Of course, every political consideration comes down to the way women dress (only a slight exaggeration, I think), and this one reflects the most current version of this issue: Muslim women and their clothing in western society. Should Muslim women athletes be allowed to ‘cover-up’ as it were while competing? My inclination was to agree with this, as there are still countries that send no women at all to the Olympics. If the only way to get them there is covered, well then at least that’s a first step. However, this statement from Bindel made me reconsider:
Liberals and Islamists both claim that female athletes can choose whether or not to wear the headscarf, and that they would not be able to participate in sport if the IOC banned such clothing. But this is a flawed argument. Feminists who support the “right” of women to wear the headscarf rather than calling for a ban should consider whether civil rights activists in the Deep South would have argued for separate buses for black people because otherwise they would not be able to travel to work.
I am not entirely convinced though, especially as Bindel goes to some effort to describe how long it took for western women to be involved in the Olympics. It didn’t happen overnight, and as Kelly Holmes would point out, women are still precluded from certain sports in the Olympics. The Saudi women and their protest drive are showing us that our rights in civic society are won a step at a time, and that we are not yet through with defending them. (http://www.saudiwomendriving.blogspot.com/)
And, the fact that women in some sports (track, tennis to name a few) wear less than men and what they do wear is quite snug may not necessarily come down to choice: would women’s sports get the same attention, would the female athletes get the same endorsement contracts, if there were not a little bit of something on view? Women and what they wear will always be an issue.