According to Marc Bain, of Quartz.com, tennis player Serena Williams is underpaid, and underendorsed – because of sexism, racism or both. He writes:
The US Open begins today (Aug. 31), and Serena Williams has a chance to make tennis history. A win would put her at 22 career Grand Slam titles, tying Steffi Graf for second most, behind only Margaret Court. Her skill prompts arguments that she is the sport’s greatest female player of all-time, and currently the most dominant US athlete, of any sex or sport. Katrina Adams, the president of the US Tennis Association, recently opined that Williams is the greatest athlete ever—period.
Not everyone will agree on each of those points, particularly that last one, but there’s no disputing that Williams has been among the top handful of athletes on the planet for years now. Yet, on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes, Williams ranks 47th. Of the seven tennis players on the list, she ranks last in endorsement dollars, with $13 million.
The top-earning male player, Roger Federer, will bring in an estimated $58 million in endorsements this year. The number-four ranked men’s player, Kei Nishikori, also brings in more than Williams, as does Maria Sharapova, who will rake in $10 million more yet hasn’t been a genuine rival to Williams for years. This gap has no logical explanation, except for long-held prejudices about female sports stars and how people feel they should look.
It seems to me that Bain is ignoring a basic supply-and-demand element of professional tennis. A while back, Human Stupidity wrote an excellent article detailing how female tennis players are overpaid, and over-promoted:
Women tennis players get the same pay for less work (fewer shorter sets), lower performance (women are chanceless against any male top 500 player), less productivity (they have fewer spectators that pay less). In other words, women’s equal prize money gets subsidized by the performance of the males. Equal prize money actually leads to Wimbledon top 10 women getting higher pay then men. Women play shorter games, thus they have time to make extra money in more games, like doubles. Women also tend to get more sponsor money. ESPN
Feminists manage to interfere in free market pricing of wages and prizes and enforce excessive pay for women.. Free market admission prices are lower for a spectator’s seat in women’s finals.
Venus Williams, the defending champion and three-time winner, said the women simply want to be treated equally.
“This is not just about women’s tennis but about women all over the world,” she told BBC Radio before Wimbledon’s announcement. “At Wimbledon we would like to have equal prize money to prove that we are equal on all fronts.” 2
The same Venus Williams that was annihilated by #203 in the men’s ranking! Such demagoguery . If women are “equal on all fronts”, why do women need separate categories? Let them play against men, and whoever wins gets the prize.
Precisely! Professional sports is a product. Fans, and endorsing companies, are its customers. In the case of men’s tennis, the product is (for the most part) raw athletic performance. This is the entertainment that people are willing to pay money for. But female tennis players are selling two products: The beauty of their bodies (as evidenced by their skimpy outfits and the huge amount of attention their male fan base gives to the appearance of those players) and their actual performance. As Human Stupidity points out, female tennis players are inferior to male tennis players – so they capitalize on their sexy appearance to help make up the difference – and to have a viable product. It’s all about supply and demand.
But the Williams sisters are not as sexually attractive as their white female counterparts, and they don’t play tennis as well as their male counterparts. So it should come as no shock that they don’t get paid as much, and are not endorsed as much, as those who offer a better product.
To claim that Serena Williams is a victim of sexism is the same as claiming that ugly strippers are victims of sexism because they don’t make as much in tips as more attractive strippers. To claim she’s a victim of racism is akin to claiming that Asian basketball players are victims of racism because they’re grossly underrepresented in the NBA. In reality, ugly strippers and Asian basketball players are victims of nature – if they’re to be considered “victims” at all.