Feature

Obama’s sexist hoops game

Does the President’s penchant for male bonding on the basketball court put female staffers at a disadvantage?

President Obama is drawing fire from feminists for recently playing a basketball game that didn't include any women. Another complaint: None of his many golf partners has been female (at least until today). Noting that these leisure activities are prime networking events, commentators are asking whether this testosterone-heavy presidential pattern indicates a lack of opportunity for women in the White House? (Watch Obama respond to boys' club allegations.)

Obama’s reinforcing women as “second class citizens”: The White House should be leading the way for "desegregating our nation’s workplaces,” says Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, quoted by ABC News. Work relationships built in informal settings can have a “huge impact on the influence an individual has” in his or her job. “NOW President on President Obama's All-Male Athletic Outings: 'It's Troubling’”

This is a fake controversy: Why would any woman lose sleep over this, asks Wesleyan history professor Claire Potter at the Tenured Radical. “Who the president plays basketball with has nothing to do with key feminist issues like the right to choose, equal pay for equal work, violence, homelessness, child care … or institutional discrimination.” The real offense: The New York Times’ decision to legitimize this story.“Next Week, For My Benefit, President Obama Will Play Basketball With Lesbians”

Show a little sensitivity, Mr. President: Though it’s undeniable that Obama’s fellow players have a unique opportunity for access, says Philadelphia Weekly’s Cup o’ Joel blog, that doesn’t mean the president should draft Sonia Sotomayor to lace up her high-tops. But by defensivly calling the criticism “bunk,” as he recently did, the president seems to “signal a certain thoughtlessness about the issue.” “Does basketball make Obama sexist?”

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