By Joshua Miles
Social media has seemingly taken over our entire lives. Everything we hear or see comes from social media these days, from rumors to live events to political news. Over half the world population is on social media, and it is largely considering a negative in our society. This is not always the case though, with social media becoming an extremely popular source for news and playing an important role in generating conversation surrounding controversial topics and policies.
For example, a recent video went viral on TikTok of a collegiate women’s basketball player exposing the extreme differences in treatment between men and women at their respective March Madness tournaments (Arnis, 2021). The video came from University of Oregon sophomore Sedona Prince, and already has over 10 million views. The video shows the weight room of the female players for the tournament in San Antonio and then edits to show the far superior men’s weight room.
The video quickly moved from TikTok to Twitter, where people had much to say about the disparity between the setups. Many called on the NCAA organizers, the NCAA and the NCAAWB to address this problem and explain why it occurred in the first place. The NCAA’s response was extremely lackluster, stating that there wasn’t enough space to have the same amount and quality of workout equipment. This was quickly disputed, again through social media, with more players taking videos of the open empty space that was available to them but not being used.
The question of Title IX comes into play here. Title IX is a law that protects against the discrimination based on gender in any institution that receives federal funding. Since the NCAA is not a federally funded institution and is funded by the schools within the NCAA, it technically was not breaking any law in this circumstance. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA is not subject to Title IX, but is it time to look at this ruling again? Many social media users believe so and freely announced their opinions across several platforms after seeing the discrepancy between not only the weight rooms, but meals and “swag bags” as well. The NCAA quickly jumped on this and attempted to address a few of the many issues that took place in planning these events.
If we really examine how large of a presence social media has in our lives today, it is crazy to think about how far it has come in just the last 10 years. Almost everything we hear about either comes from or is responded to on social media. Since the intended purpose of social media is to bring people closer together and allow easier communication, I would say that people coming together to overturn discrimination on such a large stage is fitting.
Joshua Miles is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.
Arnis, G. (2021). Viral TikTok highlights differences between men’s and women’s NCAA tournament weight rooms. Retrieved 30 March 2021, from https://www.9news.com/article/sports/ncaa/ncaab/march-madness/viral-tiktok-of-march-madness-weight-rooms/293-f8dbd43c-b496-42c6-a5db-3b95ded1e410
Henderson, G. (2020). How much time does the average person spend on social media? Retrieved 30 March 2021, from https://www.digitalmarketing.org/blog/how-much-time-does-the-average-person-spend-on-social-media