Boys club

It seems that Obama has been taking some heat lately for the fact that his White House basketball games don't include women.  A-ha, he's a sexist!!  Salon's Tracy Clarke-Flory has the right take on this, I think:

 

There is a tremendous difference between doing business at a topless
bar and organizing a pickup game with co-workers, though. And, as a
woman who has always tried to play ball, literally and figuratively,
with the boys, I couldn't help rolling my eyes at the critique of
Obama's supposedly sexist sporting habits. As a feminist, I find it
embarrassing, frankly. I'm all for political and workplace parity, but
surely the president should be allowed to bond with his colleagues in a
number of different ways, right? We don't really want to require that
he only hold official events with 50-50 sexual representation, do we?
Or that he form a knitting circle, or some other stereotypically
female-friendly club, as a means of connecting with congresswomen?

Truth
is, if there's a dominant male culture in the White House it's more
reasonably blamed on the gender divide that is already deeply
entrenched in politics. Changing that isn't an issue of holding a
basketball game with both male and female Congress members (although,
hey, that would be great); it's an issue of balancing power in
Washington and, to his credit, Obama has selected more women for his
Cabinet than any other president. Clearly, there's still plenty more
work to be done and I'm holding out hope the president's performance on
that front will be as impressive as his jump shot. In the meantime, I
sincerely hope he takes up Kathleen Sebelius on her one-on-one
challenge.

What she said.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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