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Does Burke’s Theory Apply to the WNBA?

March 24, 2011

In Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” he makes the bold claim about the power of kings and queens.  Burke says that “On this scheme of things, a king is but a man, a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal, and an animal is not of the highest order” (Burke 516).  I disagree with Burke with because  women are not inferior to men.  However, I am posing the question: do more people watch the NBA than the WNBA because they do not believe women to be of the “highest order” athletically.

While women are making many strives in the field of athletics, I do believe that the NBA is more popular than the WNBA because the athletes are less athletic.  If you compare the two leagues, they are very similar.  Both leagues have players that are very capable of shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and playing hard defense.  However, there is one major difference: the athleticism.  In the NBA, every single player is capable of dunking a basketball while there are very few women that are capable of completing a dunk.  As a result, the NBA generates a lot more revenue and is much more popular than the WNBA.  Despite the fact that WNBA players are absolutely incredible basketball players, they do not get the respect they deserve because they are less athletic than men.  In a way I am agreeing and disagreeing with Burke.  I do believe men and women are equal in every way which goes against Burke, but I do agree with him in that women are not in the highest order as far athletics.
While I did not use this resource, here is a link to yahoo answers in which someone asked the question: Why isn’t the WNBA as popular as the NBA?

I also want to ask you guys the same question so please respond to the poll.

Wooten, David. Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli                                 to Nietzsche. Indianapolis: Hacket Pub., 2008. Print.

  1. cfbeckman permalink
    March 25, 2011 12:07 AM

    Although I do agree that the NBA is more perhaps more popular than the WMBA, I think this for an entirely different reason than you. Firstly, woman can dunk. Maybe not every woman in the WMBA can dunk a basketball, but there are certainty some capable of doing so. And for those who can’t, I would not attribute their inability to not being a man, which is to say, a woman. Not every man in the NBA can dunk, either. Women are naturally shorter than men as well. This does not level the playing field, for the basket is the same height in each League…just something to consider.

    Also, I would not say that athleticism and the ability to dunk are not synonymous in the game of basketball. One is not more athletic because they can dunk and the next person can- in this case, one can simply jump higher.

    As for your reference to Burke, I am confused. You say that women are less athletic than men, but then go on to say that men and women are equal in every way. So do you agree with him? Disagree with him?

  2. nehajain permalink
    March 26, 2011 1:11 PM

    I have to agree with cfbeckman. While I understand that the WNBA is less popular than the NBA, I do not think it is because women are “less athletic”. Sure, the intensity of the two leagues might be very different. But as cfbeckman stated, women are naturally shorter and less bulky than men. I think in today’s society, Americans are primarily interested in the visual appeal of such activities. And jlanger989, you say that people watch the NBA more than the WNBA because “women are not in the highest order as far athletics”. What about sports like tennis? As far as I know, people tend to watch both womens’ and mens’ matches fairly equally.
    So, I agree with the author in saying that the WNBA is less popular than the NBA, but I don’t think you have the right reasons.

  3. Pierre Gerondeau permalink
    March 26, 2011 1:57 PM

    I agree with the two comments that the original post was a little unclear. I believe that the NBA is more popular in some ways because of the physical aspect, and women usually aren’t as tall, etc, the skills that help in the NBA. I also think it is because whether people want to admit it or not, we are still living in a patriarchal society. While there have been great strides in terms of women’s rights, for whatever reason people might not watch women’s games because they feel them to be inferior to men. People might feel that an NBA team like the Celtics or Bulls will definitely beat them, but a WNBA team is just some women who couldn’t even beat a boy’s high school team. It is interesting to think about this post in terms of the UConn Women’s Basketball team, that won 90 games in a row. They lost earlier this season, but have not lost since then. They have the longest basketball winning streak of all time, surpassing the UCLA Men’s 88 game winning streak in the early 70s. When they were close to breaking the streak, many people were mad that a women’s team was going to break a “men’s” record, even though they are in two different leagues. The UConn coach made some comments of how people were happy beforehand when his team was winning, but now that they were going to set a record with the streak people tried to compare them to the UCLA team, and “obviously the UCLA streak was better because they faced better competition.” (sarcastic paraphrase of what the coach said) I was reading some comments on ESPN, and many people thought that John Wooten, the legendary UCLA coach, would be mad to see his record broken after his death. However, one of his son’s was at the UConn record-breaking game, and he said that his father also appreciated/respected the women’s game, and would be happy to see UConn break the streak. Wooten’s son said that his father enjoyed the “team” aspect of the women’s game that he felt his championship teams had, in contrast to some NBA or other college teams. In society, men and women should be equal, and as Burke said if you don’t call the queen the queen, she will lose some of her power and authority in society. The same should go for basketball and other sports. Young fans can learn different skills from both the men’s and women’s games. If they want to see physical play with 6’6-7’0 men, dunking, possibly more intimidating players, that is one part of the game. But if they want to see a fundamental team game, with games that are just as physical in regards to the size of the athletes, then they should watch the women’s game. Like I mentioned above, regular people know they would get crushed by an NBA team or Division 1 men’s college team, and don’t think the same for women’s sports. But I’m sure if you said that to the UConn team they would have a few words for you: any place, any gym, any time, we are ready to ball. And after those people got crushed I’m sure they would have a better appreciation for the women’s game.

  4. March 26, 2011 5:37 PM

    I did not realize I was being unclear on what I supported. I did overlook the fact that men are generally taller than women which is a clear advantage in dunking. To rephrase, I would say that given the rules and style of basketball, more people watch the NBA than the WNBA because the players in the NBA are capable of playing a more physical style and if not all of them, all minus maybe one or two are able to dunk. This is where I am supporting Burke in saying that men are able to be more athletically dominant in the game of basketball (referring to vertical leap and ability to play physically).
    CFBeckman, you say women can dunk, and this may be true, but a dunk in a WNBA game has occurred only twice in the history of the league while there are numerous dunks in an NBA in every game.

  5. March 26, 2011 11:51 PM

    Also @cfbeckman, I did some research, there have been two dunks in WNBA history and every single person in the NBA is capable of dunking… Also the link you posted was of a guy dunking… His name is Joakim Noah and he is a 7 foot Center on the chicago Bulls, he just happens to have long hair…

  6. Caroline Syms permalink
    March 27, 2011 12:37 PM

    I have to agree with the other comments on this post. It’s certainly clear that society favors watching the NBA over the WNBA. I wouldn’t say this reason is because women are “less athletic” than men because men and women can be very equal when it comes to endurance and athletic ability. Men’s basketball however, creates such an exciting, passionate, and vibrant atmosphere for both the players and spectators, which makes people fall in love with the NBA. Women’s basketball doesn’t seem to rally this level of support and dedication from spectators, again, not because women are less athletic, but because the atmospheres are so different. Also, men and women portray very different personalities on the court. When is the last time you saw women engage in a tussle on the court? It seems to happen at least once a game with men’s basketball. Fans love aggression. Take March Madness for example. Every day, I see new status updates on Facebook reflecting the men’s NCAA tourney, while I have not seen one regarding the women’s tourney. So, I would disagree with Burke in this scenario because there so many other factors which contribute to reasons why the NBA has the dominant popularity.

  7. March 28, 2011 3:37 PM

    I also do agree with the other comments on this post. I do agree that the NBA is much more popular in society then the WNBA, but I disagree with your statement that its because the men are more athletic. Women are just as skilled as some men and are just as athletic in their own sense. However, the support and higher level of basketball that is played in the NBA contributes to the increased popularity. The mens games are more intense and more crowd pleasing. The acrobatic moves that players such as Blake Griffin make on a daily basis cause people to keep coming out for the games. The possibility of seeing something amazing at anytime during any game attracts many fans. This tends to be the case in all sports throughout the world. Mens sports simply is more entertaining for fans who are spending their hard earned money to attend games. I agree with you that NBA is more popular then the WNBA, but to say its because their more athletic is not the only reason.

  8. Jake Winn permalink
    March 28, 2011 7:16 PM

    First of all, I think it is always great to correlate sports to the ideas which we learn in class. In my opinion, every sport is different in it’s attention. It seems that tennis is a sport where equal attention is paid to men as it is to women. I also think that faster pace of men’s basketball attracts more fans to the sport. As a fan you must also consider the history of basketball. Men’s basketball and the NBA have been around a lot longer than the WNBA which only came to be in 1997. The truth is that woman’s basketball probably does not get the attention it deserves. Recently the UCONN Women’s basketball set a record by winning 89 consecutive games. This is another real life situation to consider. Why is that these women set an amazing record and although they were somewhat recognized for their accomplishments, they still did not get that national attention they deserve. Would Burke say the because woman are not equal to men they didn’t get the attention they deserved? I think UCONN’s coach Geno Auriemma brought this issue to the forefront when he personally made comments about his team and them breaking a record that was originally set by men. After winning their 88th straight game in December Auriemma said, “I just know that there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a women’s record,” Auriemma said Sunday. “The reason there’s everybody in this room, the reason everybody’s having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record. And everybody is all up in arms about it. All the women are happy as hell and they can’t wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that love women’s basketball are all excited. And all the miserable bastards that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re pissed.” Here we see the controversy of equality between woman and men in the sports world come to the for front on the verge of a historic record. I think it would be interesting to consider what Burke might say about Geno Auriemma’s comments. Would he argue that coach Auriemma just didn’t understand that men and women are not equal. In today’s day and age it is hard to consider that Burke’s views would hold as women continue to fight for equality.
    This article offers different views of Auriemma’s statements

  9. travis permalink
    July 24, 2011 5:14 AM

    The Reason men can dunk a basketball alot easier than women is simple,while women have more power in the legs given natural from birth. men are more muscular built, giving the height and speed advantage, if you take into consideration of physics the velocity a 6 ft 6 SG in the nba can generate off the jump to dunk than a 5ft8 to 6 ft 2 SG in the WNBA can generate is far greater, men are built differnetly than women which basically means they have more of an advantage when it comes to sports. example is there a womens football league??? yes but its very very small because there is not much hype on a 105 pd running back, the only sports i personally think women are better at than men is Soccer they have the leg power to kick the ball alot harder naturally, and they are way more flexible

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