Christine Brennan and the Title IX Myth Making Machine
In 2005, the Wall Street Journal published a front page story titled, “Title IX’s Next Hurdle,” that contained the following quote: “Today it is best known as the law that helped pave the way for female athletes like Danica Patrick.”
Perhaps the Wall Street Journal should have done a little research before asserting this claim, or maybe they chose to willingly join the myth-makers who like to link the success of every female athlete, like the tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, to Title IX even though they never participated in college athletics.
Though time has marched on, the myth-making continues, and it isn’t surprising that it does. After all, Title IX is a profoundly political issue, and if supporters can take credit for benefits that the law couldn’t possibly be responsible for, that makes it all the easier to fight legitimate efforts to reform the law and its enforcement.
This was the 15th consecutive U.S. Open women’s final to be decided in two sets. We have to go back to Steffi Graf’s 1995 victory against Monica Seles for a three-set finale. It’s almost mind-boggling that with all the money and interest in women’s tennis, and with Title IX 38 years old and flourishing in America, there still can be such disparity at the very top of the women’s game.
I think Brennan’s point here is pretty clear: how in the world could it be possible for there to be such a long history of lopsided finals on the women’s side of the U.S. Open when Title IX is helping to pump out an increasing number of American women who play tennis?