Serena Williams: Victim of sexism and racism?

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.

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About jewamongyou

I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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12 Responses to Serena Williams: Victim of sexism and racism?

  1. Pete says:

    I’m not sure that the Williams sisters are female.

  2. countenance says:

    I’m having a hard time putting “Serena Williams” and “oppressed” in the same zip code.

  3. Casey Phyle says:

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Feminists and leftists go overboard if not put in their places. One of the very few good things an economic crash will do is to clean up that kind of BS.

  4. Even wealthy and successful blacks are oppressed, we are told, if they make less money than some whites in the same field! To attribute the inequality in earnings to market preferences, or to attempt to find any explanation other than white racism, is racist! Since real evidence of racism against blacks is scant, manufactured grievances will only increase.

  5. Black Death says:

    I recall hearing, years ago, how a top woman golfer, don’t recall which one, answered a question as to why men and women professionals played separately. Weren’t the rules the same for both sexes? Her answer – they played separately so that the number one woman player wouldn’t be number 35 on the combined list. Probably tennis is the same.

    • You are very optimistic she would be number 35. If it were like most sports, she probably would be number 5035. I wrote about a lot of sports, women can not even compete in darts, snooker, or, yes cooking. One Michelin 3 star woman, and very few with any star at all.

      But these facts are actively hidden.

    • thelyniezian says:

      A counterpoint to that would be if men and women didn’t compete on separate but level playing fields for each of the sexes, then it is likely women might be excluded from sport entirely. Perhaps some might think this isn’t a good thing from a spectator point of view if you want to marvel at the abilities of the participants, but a plus point is it could inspire women/girls to participate and get fit.

  6. Robert Marchenoir says:

    The Williams sisters are offensively un-feminine and ugly. I’m not particularly into tennis, but if I were, they would be enough to drive me away from the sport.

    I can cope with female athletes seldom being cuties, but having to watch men in skirts, with black features to boot, is more than I can bear.

  7. panjoomby says:

    she was very good in the mockumentary “7 days in hell.” she seemed quite intelligent – & i respected her for being able to participate in that sort of thing:) i’m no fan of anything or anybody, but just thought i’d add a positive note!

  8. Ted says:

    I raced mountain bikes off and on for 20 years. At my best, I was around middle of the pack, as a semi-pro. Typically, we’d start 2-5 minutes before or after the pro women, depending on the race. My very first race as a semi-pro was the 2006 Sea Otter Classic, which is big enough to draw the best in the world. I ended up spending a full lap, roughly 20 miles, with the lead women’s group. Included in that group was previous world champion Sabine Spitz, 3 time world champion Alison Sydor, and reigning 3 time world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, who won the world championship yet again that season. I was holding my own just fine, until I broke a pedal with 10 miles to go.

    I was a nobody, probably the heaviest person on the course that day, unsponsored, with a 10 year old bike, and racing in street clothes. If they bothered to officially rank that low, I would have finished that season somewhere between 500th and 1000th in the country. And I could run with the best women in the world. I think that says it all about the difference between men’s and women’s sports.

  9. thelyniezian says:

    Possibly the real elephant in the room is this: why do we value professional sports so highly in the first place? Case in point: if you get knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon, you get £29,000. Average earnings in the UK is £26,500 (2014 statistics). Even if you believe in pure free markets, I don’t see how that automatically dismisses the idea that there is a problem here, seeing as free markets are only as good as the human beings who trade within them. People are paying large sums of money to watch people be very good at whacking a ball around, at the end of the day. No doubt it’s highly skilled and takes a lot of effort, plus there is considerable risk of injuries, but what broader value is this skill? Inspiring others to get fit… maybe?

    At the end of the day though, when you consider this, how much Serena Willams gets paid compared to her male counterparts is largely irrelevant. First World Problems. Most people would probably do all sorts of crazy things to get one million dollars, let alone 13.

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