Mary Carillo interviewed WTA chairwoman Stacey Allaster today, and the WTA's leader--despite making a few comments about women's DNA being different from men's (seriously, she said that)--assured all that something was going to be "done" about the "grunting" on the tour. In the past, Allaster has tried to defend players from the barrage of ridiculous criticism leveled at them, while still trying to take the criticism seriously. Today, she was much firmer in insisting that a "solution" is on the way, and that this solution will involve "objective" (as if) measurement. In other words, there will be some type of decibel measuring device available.
Carillo, to my surprise, reflected exactly what I was thinking (at least some of it) when she immediately told Allaster she thought it was good that Allaster had found a way for someone to make money, in addition to solving the "problem." There was then an uncomfortable lull in the conversation.
Throughout history, women and girls have had everything on them and in them measured and examined and tested to assure that they were "pure" or "qualified" or "hot" enough to do everything from marry to serve drinks on a plane. Now the WTA wants to add yet another invasive measuring device that involves women's bodies. To borrow a phrase from Serena Williams--Go WTA women's equality campaign!
The 5th and 6th seeds, both major champions, played poorly and lost in the first round of the U.S. Open. Women still make less money playing tennis than men do, and they are expected to play fewer sets than men at the majors. The tour's injury list is long and impressive. Commentators and writers refer to 28-year-old women as children. On-court coaching, which fosters dependence and makes women look ridiculous, continues. The tour has problems, many of which are caused by sexism. One of those problems is the perception that it is somehow "wrong" for women to grunt or yell.
Maybe a really strong campaign against sexism and a closer look at the tour's expectations would be in order? Of course it would be, but it won't happen because the WTA is busy tending to important things like catering to a culture that doesn't want women to be real people and doesn't want female athletes to be real athletes.