DAILY SIGNAL: Problematic Woman of the Year: Riley Gaines

Time magazine named pop singer Taylor Swift its Person of the Year. There is a good economic argument to be made for why Swift deserves the title, which we discussed on a recent episode of the “Problematic Women” podcast.

Although Swift’s effect on the music industry and economy is unquestionable, her political rhetoric leaves much to be desired. So while Swift took home Time’s greatest annual recognition, here at “Problematic Women” we were eager to recognize a woman who dedicates her time, energy, and talent to ensure that the next generation of little girls has the opportunity to compete on a fair athletic playing field.

Each week on “Problematic Women,” we name a Problematic Woman of the Week—that is, a woman who furthers conservative values and often faces opposition for doing so.

In 2023, many problematic women fought for the unborn, spoke out in support of education freedom, and advocated the privacy and protection of female-only spaces. Although it’s hard to pick just one, few female leaders acted with more integrity and reached more Americans with a message of common sense than swimmer Riley Gaines.

Gaines, a 12-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion, gained national attention in 2022 after she tied with male swimmer Lia Thomas, who says he identifies as transgender, in the 200 freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships.

Since being forced to swim against Thomas, Gaines has continued to share her story and advocate the protection of women’s sports as a spokeswoman for Independent Women’s Forum.

Gaines testified Dec. 5 before a congressional subommittee alongside Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation who is a regular voice on “Problematic Women,” and shared her experience of competing against a biological male.

For choosing to stand in defense of women’s sports and female-only spaces, Gaines testified that she has been met with “death threats” and verbal and physical assault. 

Despite the attacks Gaines continues to face, she has chosen to speak out with greater conviction for the future of women’s sports. Her determination to be a voice of common sense and truth no matter the cost has rightly earned her the title of 2023 Problematic Woman of the Year.

Be sure to catch the full conversation on this week’s edition of the “Problematic Women” podcast, where we also discuss the biggest moments of 2023 and share our favorite Christmas traditions.

Listen to the podcast below:

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