By Brigitte L. Nacos
Has President Barack Obama committed an unforgivable offense against gender equality by playing hoops with male members of the administration and congress only?
Two weeks after ABC News reported on an all-male game of basketball on the White House court and comedian Jay Leno enlisted Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and a former college basketball player, to poke fun at the president for excluding women, the New York Times revisited the president’s alleged faux pas and its larger meaning in today’s edition.
According to reporter Mark Leibovich, the issue transcends that one particular all-male basketball game in that the “technical foul over the all-male game has become a nagging concern for a White House that has battled an impression dating to the presidential campaign that Mr. Obama’s closest advisers form a boys’ club and that he is too frequently in the company of only men — not just when playing sports, but also when making big decisions.”
And not enough with Obama’s preference to play hoops with the guys, the Times mentions also that according to “Mark Knoller of CBS, the president has played 23 rounds of golf since taking office, none of which have included women…”
Is it true or a figment of media hype that at a time of pressing foreign and domestic policy problems and issues—just think Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, health care reform, economic woes, etc., etc.--, the people in the White House are concerned about this so-called gender issue?
In spite of Hillary Clinton at State, Valerie Jarrett as the closest Obama adviser in the White House, Sonia Sotomayor as pick to join the Supreme Court, and a number of influential women in White House and cabinet, were are told that Obama’s White House is a bastion of male power and according to the Times “rife with fist-bumping young men who call each other “dude” and testosterone-brimming personalities…”
While I am not sure that female members of the administration and congress would want to play basketball with the guys, there are probably enough female golfers who would love to give the president and the guys a run for their money.Since the lack of female participants in the president’s relaxation time on basketball courts and golf courses is deemed evidence enough for the political correctness guardians to weigh in, the Times should be the last one to dwell on this.