"The Last Bastion of Acceptable Sexism"

As a female sports journalist, let me tell you, dealing with sexism is something that never goes away. You just take it for granted that it's part of the job and find a way to deal.

Water. Duck's back. Keep it moving.

But Paul Farhi's 1A article in the Washington Post has prompted me to take down I've erected between my career and blogging because this is something I feel deeply passionate about.

I knew I wanted to be a sports journalist when I was 14 years old, and I'd always had a passion for sports, especially football.

I remember the exact day I decided for sure I was going to cover sports.

I was watching the Baltimore Ravens, led by sigh-inducing Trent Dilfer, with a football buddy of mine when a lightbulb went off.

"I want John Madden's job."

Something had sparked a flame of feminist indignation in the pit of my stomach about watching women relegated to sideline reporting while men got to do play-by-play and color commentary in the booth.

I decided I was going to be the one to change all that. (It's weird. I hate being photographed casually. But I'm extremely comfortable in front of a camera when I'm explaining something.)

After I got to college, my plans changed. I had a more realistic hold on where I could take my career, and my talents pointed to writing rather than broadcasting. Plus, I didn't want to be subject to a daily barrage of judgment about my looks, or have a contract specifying how I could and could not wear my hair, makeup, etc.

But I've always held women such as Christine Brennan, Lesley Visser, and Andrea Kremer in high esteem.

These women are veterans. They are professionals, and they more than know their stuff, like so many other female sports journalists out there.

It burns me up that sexism is still such an accepted part of working in sports that women are privately--as opposed to publicly-- seething about the fact that there is a glass ceiling in sports journalism, for fear of angering the boss over a perfectly legitimate grievance.

Then again, ESPN was slow to act when men were acting like apes in the company cafeteria, and if you want more evidence of the company's institutionalized sexism, well, the fact that Mike Tirico still has a job is living, breathing proof.

Wrote Farhi: ESPN's top personnel executive says the absence of women is in part a reflection of what fans want.

Seriously?

That's the best excuse TV executives can come up with? Don't blame us, it's our pig-headed fans? The fact that this is coming from a network that posits itself as the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" is even more ridiculous.

You won't do it because you're afraid of losing a few idiot gut-scratching viewers and some ad money? Let's think about these viewers for a minute.

. . .

Where the hell are they going to go? Fox Sports Net? *snorts*

You're the Worldwide Leader, ESPN. You own so much of the frickin' sports television market you make everyone else look like a joke. Stop cow-towing to sexism and put a woman, no, two, in the booth already. On football. On a regular basis.

Ugh.

This is why I'm a member of AWSM. And it's why women in sports journalism need our own version of Richard Prince. Hell, maybe I'll do it.

Oh and if you still think it's okay to exclude women from this club, and shrug off the harassment that every single one of us has stories about, take out the quantifier of "female" and replace it with "black."

See what I mean?

1 comments:

Stuckey said...

To be honest, I have no problem listening to a woman call a game. Doris Burke calls basketball for ESPN and she does a fine job.

What I have a problem with is listening to people who know no more than myself try to break down or analyze a game. I don't really care what Mike Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser or you have to say about football. The big difference between Madden (idiot that he is) and you is that he coached a Super Bowl winning team. A woman play-by-play guy is fine by me, but for color I want someone with a Super Bowl ring. And no, Matt Millen doesn't count.

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