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Commentary: Male dominance is the issue

Some powerful men are falling from their high places.

Politicians, celebrities and academics have all succumbed to charges that they imposed themselves on women. The current scandal could have started at any time, but the dethroning of Harvey Weinstein gave birth to the “#MeToo”movement.

What is at stake for men is nothing less than a redefinition of masculinity and male dominance. The charges of sexual assault and harassment are not essentially about sex but power. Why do I impose my will on you? Because I can, and I can get away with it. Apparently, you cannot get away with it anymore unless you are president of the United States or have his blessing.

All men need to survey their lives and ask if they ever made a woman uncomfortable or treated her as an object. Not many of us would emerge unscathed.

The current reckoning is the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath? Do we just take for granted that powerful men will act badly? Do we succumb to the notion that this is just the way it is?

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in January 1973. During my tenure at UCONN, men’s basketball was the most prominent sport on campus. Women’s basketball was not established until 1974. Could I be forgiven for assuming that basketball was a man’s game and that women’s basketball was something created to satisfy the requirements of Title IX, the civil rights statute enacted in 1972?

I couldn’t have been forgiven for long, as the women’s rights movement strongly challenged male dominance in many aspects of life.

In Street & Smith’s 2017-2018 basketball preview you can find references to men’s college teams from powerful Duke to small college Ferris State. In all, references to college basketball consume 221 pages of the magazine. How many pages are devoted to coverage of women’s college basketball? Precisely, six.

I have a button on my remote control that, when I push it, gives me schedules and scores from college basketball games from conferences around the country. Can I find out how my alma mater’s women’s team is faring? No. References to NCAA Women’s Basketball do not appear next to the category, NCAAB. So, what is the message? As far as my remote control is concerned, college basketball is men’s basketball.

Does men’s basketball dominate the women’s program at UCONN? Hardly.

The treatment of women’s college basketball is but one slight beneath the Harvey Weinstein, et al, tip of the iceberg.

Tom Howarth is a resident of Front Royal.