Whilst shuffling to 8 a.m. classes in a zombie-like state of fatigue, it seems now that I'm passing more and more people donning red, Zona Zoo tee shirts, gleaming with anticipation for the upcoming seasons of football and basketball. A question I'm faced with as of late: ""Did you get your Zona Zoo pass already? If not, why not? Don't you want to see the football and basketball games?""
Before I left the lively town of Sierra Vista, Ariz., this summer to return to our fine university the common question seemed to be: ""If we come and visit you in Tucson, will you go to a basketball game with us?""
When faced with questions about sports games, such as our ever-popular Wildcat basketball, the first question that came to my mind was whether we were talking men's basketball or women's basketball. This question, when asked, was usually followed by odd looks. Men's basketball, of course — was I insane? The United States of America, home of freedom, bravery, and equality.
Women have undoubtedly gained their footing in the world of sports, which didn't even allow women to professionally participate at one point. But when held in comparison to men's sports, it seems as though more than a few people are still snickering behind the backs of female athletes when it comes to their athletic abilities and potential.
The attitude around campus is that Wildcat men's basketball is the only basketball that matters. On a metaphorical ladder of sports significance, Wildcat women's basketball falls on the bottom rung, not only in the eyes of UA sports fans, but seemingly in the eyes of Zona Zoo officials as well. According to the Arizona Athletics Web site, tickets for a full season of Wildcat women's basketball cost anywhere from $40-$85. On the other hand, ticket prices for a season of Wildcat men's basketball range from $100-$1500.
To most college students, $85 is anything but a small amount ($85 could buy a lot of ramen noodles after all), but it truly is chump change considering that the highest price for men's season tickets is almost 18 times more expensive than the highest priced women's season tickets.
Luckily for us, that's where the Zona Zoo pass comes in handy. For a one-time payment of $125, students can gain access to any Wildcat home sporting event. The Zona Zoo Web site does urge students, however, to reserve their seats to the men's basketball home games online as soon as possible to guarantee their admission. There's no such tip on the Web site concerning women's basketball (or any other women's sports for that matter), suggesting that these events aren't the most popular amongst students and Tucsonans.
Our female athletes undoubtedly train just as faithfully as their male counterparts, but the price of tickets suggests that no one would pay more than $85 for a measly season of Wildcat women's basketball. They're just women, after all and anything women can do (dribbling, dunking, passing, childbearing?) men can supposedly do better.
If our society truly has moved past the point of gender discrimination, why are women's sports still treated as insignificant in how it is sold to the public? To answer this question I read an article entitled ""Men, Women, and Sports: Audience Experience and Effects"" by Walter Gantz, Ph.D, and Lawrence Wenner, Ph.D,. Their article noted, ""… sports regularly broadcast on television have been classified as having a masculine rather than a … feminine gender orientation … (and) as a result numerically and proportionally more men watch … sports."" With the American society and sports spectatorship vastly dominated by men and, ultimately, some male chauvinistic minds, it's easy to see why, as fewer women's sports are broadcast on television it causes women's sports in general to be regarded as less than entertaining. When women wish to participate in activities considered masculine, they are stereotyped as less competent than men, especially in athletics.
We should raise the prices of tickets to female sports; the severe distinction in the prices only validates stereotypical views and sexist advertising that has kept the public, like our school, from entertaining the idea that watching women's sports can be just as entertaining as men's.
— Arianna Carter is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.