Something that doesn't fit well into The Narrative is that the current feminist era is now well into its fifth decade, so we've gone through numerous cycles.
In The Narrative, however, differences between men and women are due to the benightedness of the sexist past, which lasted until yesterday.
But, if you can remember the past, you can recall many media whoop-tee-doos that haven't panned out in the long run. For example, women's basketball was a media sensation at the 1976 Olympics, then at the 1984 Olympics in L.A., and then, most heavily, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which sparked a 1990s boomlet in women's college and pro basketball.
But the collapse of the Soviet Union has left the U.S. without a formidable rival. And without nationalism to spark interest, women's basketball isn't very interesting. Thus women's college basketball is hunting around for ways to get more popular now that the novelty has worn off and it's settled into a largely lesbian niche audience sport.
From the NYT:
To increase stagnant interest in women’s college basketball, a former prominent official has recommended wide experimentation with the rules and the N.C.A.A. tournament, including holding the men’s and women’s Final Four at the same location on a one-time trial basis.
After a six-month study, Val Ackerman, a former president of USA Basketball and the W.N.B.A., recommended that the N.C.A.A. also hold the women’s Final Four on the weekend after the men’s tournament to gauge its effects on the game’s popularity.
She also recommended that the women’s Final Four be held in the same city for multiple years, just as the college baseball World Series is held annually in Omaha, Neb.
As a further way to enhance competitive balance, Ackerman said that some of the coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners she interviewed had advised reducing scholarships to 13 per team from 15. (The other two scholarships could be used to finance other women’s teams.)
Some officials also recommended to Ackerman that the season be shortened to one semester. One possibility is to begin the women’s season after college football’s regular season and end it after the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament.
Seems reasonable. Football is the 800 pound gorilla of college sports, so why go head to head with that? Men's basketball is the 400 pound orang-utan of college sports, so why not draft off that? And a one-semester sport is better academically.
To address declines in shooting and scoring, Ackerman advised that the rules should be re-examined to speed the game, reduce the physicality and make it easier for teams to score. She advised that a kind of rules laboratory be created to consider radical suggestions, such as one by Coach Geno Auriemma of Connecticut that the rim be lowered to 9 feet from 10 feet.
Nah, too many basketball rims around the country aren't adjustable. A smaller ball is a cheap way to get all the advantages of a lower rim -- except dunking, and even on a 9' rim, women can't dunk without a smaller ball they can control with one hand. And why switch to an above the rim game that only blacks could be good at? Keep it a below the rim sport that's more racially integrated than the men's game and it will do okay by appealing to white dads with tall daughters.
The basketball is too big for women. I believe the official NCAA women's ball is 29" in circumference compared to 30" for the men's ball, and it weights 20 ounces versus 22 ounces. But women's hands are not, on average, 29/30ths as large as men's hands, and women don't have 20/22nd of the upper body strength. A women's basketball not much bigger than a volleyball, but a little denser so that it wouldn't get buffeted about by air currents, would make for a more elegant game.
Now, most women have to kind of shotput the ball at the basket, and women's shotput is not a popular sport.
In general, it should be a priority in rulemaking for women's sports to make women look elegant while playing a sport. Most heterosexual women prefer to do things that make them look good. Female tennis players look good playing tennis, so women's tennis is a big money sport. Female basketball players shoot like shotputters, so it's a small money sport.