Female entitlement?

It may be trivial, but there is an interesting discrepancy between the language used for female athletes by your sports writers and that used by your headline and caption writers.In your issue of September 30, one article refers to the “women’s” cross country team and another to the “women’s rugby team.” However, the caption for the picture accompanying the former refers to “The ladies of the Cross Country team” and the headline for the latter begins “Lady ruggers.”

More than thirty years ago feminists began objecting to the gratuitous use of “ladies,” which they saw as a way of distinguishing and diminishing women, especially in male fields. Many others found that objection this made sense, and abandoned the term, except when (as at Wimbledon) it is paired with “gentlemen.” Thus we have the WNBA, not the “Ladies League,” and we do not talk of Guilford’s “gentlemen’s” basketball team or the “gentlemen” of the NFL.

Your sportswriters – both male and female – seem to have gotten this message. Why are your caption and headline writers still stuck in the middle of the last century?