Sunday, July 1, 2007

Thanks to media, Title IX was a "stealth law"

Much hoopla over the 35th anniversary of Title IX. A 35th anniversary? Usually we get hyped over a 25th or 50th. The media must be making up for lost time because it was truly a quiet lapdog when the legislation made its way through Congress. Title IX is one of the best examples of a "stealth law," something that becomes law without you knowing it. In "Faces of Feminism," Sheila Tobias notes that there was little opposition to Title IX when it was debated in Congress. Nevertheless, she writes that "Rep. Edith Green (D-Ore.) "discouraged feminists from lobbying too publicly for the bill, lest attention be drawn to its wide-reaching powers. She was right to do so."
Today those "powers" are of concern to backers of men's sports that have been dropped at some schools, but when Green put the lid on many people thought Title IX meant women could not be barred from a team. After all, the newspapers carried many stories about girls who were good enough to play on boys teams or how a girl was discriminated against when she was barred from a boys team. There were occasional stories about boys being kept off a girls volleyball team or something, but they received little coverage and cries of "boys will take over" were accepted without much comment.
Now it is taken for granted that equality of money is the main issue. However, I find it odd that "separate but equal" is never used in stories about Title IX. I wonder if Green would get away with her tactic in today's Internet world. The MSM can set the agenda, but it can no longer limit it.

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