In 1973 Billie Jean King threatened to boycott the US Open over equal pay. The USTA, in their infinite wisdom decided that it was a good idea to pay both men and women equally. Thirty four years later, Wimbledon followed suit. Yet, we still have men who believe that women should somehow make less. The arguments range from, women only play two out of three sets while men play three out of five, people turn out to watch the men play, the women’s game is less interesting and women get their periods. Screw that. It’s all a false narrative designed to hide the misogyny behind the remarks.
Listen to how fan favorite Raphael Nadal weighs in, “It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make,” according to a translation from Yahoo News. “Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”
How disappointing, that one of the game’s greats feels this way. Of course he’s entitled to his opinion, but that isn’t the point. It doesn’t take a high school debate team to pick his argument apart.
Both men and women are performing the same job. I’ve heard the argument that because men play three out of five sets they should get paid more and I couldn’t disagree more. If the argument is one of physical abilities, men are stronger and faster and have more stamina, therefore should get more money for playing longer, then let’s look at all the crap women have to endure physically before, during and after they play. I’d love to see Rafa play a three setter while going through wicked monthly cramps. If we’re talking physicality here, then the female should get paid more. But we’re not Neanderthals are we? So we say that to play the same game, get the same pay.
I loved Venus Williams’ response when asked about Rafa’s caveman response, “I don’t know anything about modeling, I guess that’s a metaphor that makes sense to him.” And hopefully no one else.
Venus has always taken up the fight for equal pay. She was instrumental in helping convince the last hold- out for equal pay, Wimbledon. Like Billie Jean King before her, she felt that if women are performing the same job, they should get the same pay.
I’d like to know how Nadal can be so sure that most of the fans who show up are there to watch the men? And why not take it a step further? Let’s see exactly how many fans go to see Rafa play. Note to Nadal: watching him play can sometimes be an exercise in patience and a lesson in psychology. His game can be boring and his OCD is enough to make me want to kick over his finely placed water bottles. So let’s dial back the rhetoric on enjoyable spectating. Following his logic, Nadal should only get a percentage based on how many fans are there for him. After his last comment, don’t count me as one of them. Fair is fair, Rafa.
American tennis player Nicole Gibs pointed out that there are plenty of male players who attract NO fans, yet make more than female players. There goes that argument.
Sadly, Nadal isn’t the only male player who feels this way:
“But Novak Djokovic, the world’s top men’s player, who won on the men’s finals this weekend (Indian Wells) , added more fuel to the fire, saying that men should “fight for more” money because their matches have more spectators that those played by women.” Indian Wells, 2016 (time.com)
“He also backtracked by, somewhat bizarrely, acknowledging that women who play the game face unique challenges in the form of “hormones and different stuff.”
Whoa there, Tiger Paws! Prize money is in the millions plus range and you want to fight for more? That’s absurd and an irrelevant argument. Again, who told Djokovic that people are there to watch the men? Does he take a random poll amongst his team every tournament? Is he reading fan mail emails? Did his mommy and daddy (always in attendance) tell him that? No one asked me because I sure as hell am not going to watch him.
You see, this is the nonsense that women have to deal with. What Cromagnon man thinks this, much less lends a voice to it? I’m not even going to quote Ray Moore’s unfortunate medieval comments because they were arguably worse. Haven’t we, as women, banged our heads against the glass ceiling more than enough times?
You’d be hard pressed to find evidence that backs up what Nadal and Djokovic are saying, a change in pay to women, ie: less, would effect the mens’ paychecks. Ironically, both men continue to believe it will. Why?
I have a theory. Despite appearing to be progressive men of this century, both Nadal and Djokovic are the Fred Flintstones of tennis. I’ll grant you that this isn’t a proven hypothesis, but it makes sense. Maybe Nadal has that Latino-Macho thing going for him, and Djokovic hasn’t gotten the memo about equal rights yet. Whatever the reason, it’s upsetting that this attitude is still prevalent.
I’m so looking forward to Wimbledon, where I’m trying to convince my friends on that side of the pond to mingle amongst the crowds and ask them what they think…..