By Cue Sibiya
“There’s no female Messi or female AB de Villiers,” they say. And whether they would openly admit it or not, many men are not particularly interested in women sport. Perhaps that’s because we compare it, directly and unfairly – to male sport.
It was The Rebbe who said, “After thousands of years of male dominance, we now stand at the beginning of the feminine era, when women will rise to their appropriate prominence, and the entire world will recognise the harmony between man and woman.”
Though equal, men and women are not the same. Like apples and oranges. We’re all fruits, yes, and only one of us will make a decent apple juice, but if combined, would produce fruit juice. Yes, we might play the same game and live in the same world, but every person should decide how they want to play the cricket game.
Truth be told, contemporary society is just beginning to delve into the true distinctions between men and women cricket. Besides the obvious physiological differences, there are also differences in the way men and women cricket players think, run, bat, and bowl.
But from what I have observed – especially in the cricket world – where female cricketers are making a mark for themselves, you somehow get TV commentators and writers who are still diminishing the progress achieved by women. These brainwashed commentators believe that women’s cricket needs adjustment, thus resorting to sexist and prejudice comments.
As a cricket fan, I’ve been watching the Women World Cup currently taking place in England. The sad part is that commentators, from across the world, are throwing in their chauvinistic views on how women “should play cricket”. These ill-informed male commentators with insignificant brain cells are forever complaining that women are not strong enough to hit fours and sixes. They further make sexist comments like “women should hit the gym in order to clear those boundaries”. And the worst part is that female commentators laugh along.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the cricket game is the same and the rules are the same, but women are created differently from men. Men are stronger than their female colleagues, meaning that they can hit bigger boundaries. It is against that backdrop that the women’s boundary line is shorter than that of male cricket players.
Consequently, let’s stop comparing women to male cricketers. Let them play the game the way they feel the game should be played according to them. Just like other sports such as tennis and soccer, women should not be dictated to in what way they should serve or kick. It’s like pants, let men wear male pants and women wear female pants. At the end of the day, it’s pants. But don’t expect women to wear the male pants.
You have probably heard this lie: Equality means females must do the same thing as males. Two things do not have to be the same to be equal. Red and green are equally colours, but they are different. Men and women are different, but our differences are not meant to divide us, and they won’t if we have the same purpose i.e. to enjoy the beautiful game of cricket.
As repeatedly mentioned above, female athletes are simply not equal to their male counterparts in terms of physical ability, people see this as an important thing for an athlete, unlike in other professions. The difference is real and impossible to ignore. It’s just physiology. Men are faster, stronger and more athletic. But that’s not a reason to give up on female cricket, which can be just as competitive or equally dramatic.
So, male cricket commentators, I implore you, stop making bigotry and chauvinistic comments. And to female presenters, stop being strong-armed and manipulated into laughing at sexist jokes just because you want to keep your job. Women need you to be strong. They need someone who will say ENOUGH, let women play cricket with pride. You need to take a stand against gender-based tyrannies and speak out about the cult of masculinity that boxes men into a narrow accepted norm.
Cue Sibiya (@cuemanbeing) is the editor-in-chief for The Republic Mail.