It was a banner year for male athletes who made waves in women’s sport. The corporate media have shamelessly hailed these men who dismiss women as a great human rights achievement, at odds with public opinion wherever it has been sufficiently measured.
Most recently, a man named Alana McLaughlin, a US Army Special Forces veteran, to beat Fighter Celine Provost in the ring at an MMA competition, leading critics like Save Women’s Sports Australasia co-founder Kath Deves at lament that women’s sport should not be “a dumping ground for men who cannot hack it into men’s competition”.
Alana McLaughlin, a transgender MMA fighter, won her debut on Friday night after smothering opponent Celine Provost in the second round.https://t.co/ZheIJmDIE5
– SPORTbible (@sportbible) September 12, 2021
UFC fighter Sean Strickland bluntly called McLaughlin a “man” and a “coward”. He was followed by fellow UFC fighter Sean O’Malley, who noted he could tell McLaughlin was “a dude” and didn’t think it was okay for someone with so many years of testosterone in their system to fight women.
Champion MMA fighter Jake Shields pointed out in a recent interview that Provost is a competent martial artist with about a decade of experience, while McLaughlin had only trained for about six months and was in terrible shape. McLaughlin still beat Provost, and social media was splashed with photos of him “choking” his opponent from behind, his blood splashing in front of her.
Having such a spectacle billed as progress – and as a big step forward in women’s rights, nothing less – could be enough to push almost anyone towards thorny revanchism.
Shields noted that it was strange that the MMA media were silent on the matter or supported McLaughlin, even though many fans and athletes were critical of McLaughlin’s victory. Yet what’s odd about the situation is not the opinions of MMA fans, but of MMA reporters. Our national survey this june followed with national vote made in 2020, finding that a significant majority of the American public is against men competing in women’s sports.
Most voters want to protect women
We went back in July and interrogates minority voters in three states – Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – on policies such as admitting men to women’s prisons, spas, shelters and sports teams. In each of these categories, more than half of those polled disagreed, with around 67% opposing male athletes in women-only sports.
A MetroNews West Virginia poll released this month found very similar results, discovery that 65% of registered voters said athletic eligibility should be based on gender.
However, this perspective is not reflected in the corporate press and its glowing treatment of trans athletes. Transgender activists who want to end women’s sports are bullying the media by telling them only one side of the story, and the media cabal doesn’t need to be convinced. Despite the fact that it is they who are pushing for sterilization of children on demand, some media activists have even slander as eugenics, people who want to keep men out of women’s sports.
Given recent national and state polls which have shown strong opposition among voters to policies such as excluding women from their own sports, do the corporate media really think a majority of the American public advocates with hate eugenics? And is there one other issue that the media is so consistently afraid of expressing a point of view that is likely shared by around two-thirds of its potential audience?
The media reaction has been roughly the same after the Wi Spa incident this summer, where most of the US media denied or ignored the story of a man exposing himself to women and girls at a day spa in Los Angeles.
You might think that a story about a potentially serious criminal offense would receive more objective and thoughtful coverage than a story about sports. Yet at least one media outlet suggested the story was a hoax, while others repeated the story that the complaints were “transphobic harassment”, until the police filed charges against a serial sex offender for the incident.
Unbalanced media coverage around the world
Media illumination isn’t just happening here in the United States.
April survey Scottish attitudes have shown that a majority disapprove of allowing men to participate in women’s sports. The very first independent survey of its kind in Ireland this summer revealed that only 17 percent agree with the country’s policy allowing people to legally change their status “as soon as they identify or believe they are members of the opposite sex.” A new 2021 poll of Canadians solely on the sports question found that respondents believed letting men compete in women’s sports was unfair, by a margin of about four to one.
Still, the media in all three places have shown an extreme reluctance to reflect anything like mainstream public opinion on these matters, appearing instead to fear the wrath of a small minority of very vocal detractors.
Maybe journalists appear scared that a Twitter crowd will get them fired, or that some of their far-left colleagues will organize against them in the office. But how many polls must journalists and their editors consult before they stop letting internet commentaries and fashionable unpopular activists rule their newsrooms?
We’re not holding our breath for an answer, but we think it’s well proven that they would have an audience for a cover that recognizes material reality.
Natasha Chart is a feminist writer and president of Chart Consulting LLC. Wendy Wixom is the President of United Families International.