I’m a massive fan of Channel Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior.
The sheer athleticism, talent, and physical strength to even attempt the Ninja Warrior course is impressive. The mental fortitude of the athletes to push through even when their arms are shaking, their muscles flooded with dreaded lactic acid, moreso.
But there’s one aspect of the hit family-friendly show that I’m not quite sure I’m buying. That is, the suggestion of hosts Rebecca Maddern and Ben Fordham that it is a “great equaliser”.
The Ninja Warrior course is not equal. At least, not for women.
You see, of the 90 or so contestants to make it through to the show’s semi-finals, only a handful (seven, actually) were women. And not a single one of the female athletes have passed any of the courses. At best, they had reached the final stage – the “warped wall” – before bowing out.
Why? Because, put bluntly, the Ninja Warrior courses almost exclusively favour male athleticism.
While female athletes, in general, possess greater flexibility and balance than men do, these fitness components are tested far less on Ninja Warrior than ones male athletes overwhelmingly dominate women in; for example, upper body strength and stamina.
With an average man standing at 175.6cm tall, and the typical woman at 161.8cm, it needn’t be said that women also lose out to men when it comes to height. Which, just quietly, makes that giant 4.5-metre high warped wall a tricky one to navigate.
Judging by the warrior women we’ve had on this season, their disparity in height makes completing a course almost impossible.
Of course, this isn’t just the case with our home-grown version of the show.