Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Both Sides of a Double Standard

It is sportscasting's version of a Catch-22, and I'm not talking about a deep sideline pass.

The untenable position of female sportscasters was brought home during NFL opening weekend. Azteca TV reporter Ines Sainz was allegedly harassed while trying to cover practice and interview players with the New York Jets. In response to that, Redskins running back Clinton Portis told a sports radio station,"You put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. Somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages." The NFL chastised Portis, who then apologized.

Here's the problem for Sainz and other would-be female sportscasters: you've got to be fairly attractive to get a job in the first place, which then unfairly exposes you to potential harassment.

Let's be honest--whether you think it's right or wrong, fair or unfair, the women covering sports on television have to be good-looking. The audience is dominated by men and that's what they want to see. Is it a double-standard? Certainly, but we're not talking about fairness here, we're talking reality. Google something like "hot female sportscaster" and see what you come up with. Some women even embrace the attention and use it in their careers. It's a little too early to tell about Sainz, but she hasn't been shy about using this situation to her advantage, and she wasn't exactly looking demure in her interview with Fox.

On the other side, you have female sportscasters who rightly who want, and deserve, to be known for their ability and professionalism. There's the Catch-22, and the women are caught right in the middle.

This in no way is to condone harassment in any form, and the female sportscasters who have suffered from it have every right to complain and fight back. But there's a long history of this kind of thing in the sports media and based on what happened this weekend it is apparently not going to go away any time soon.


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5:34 AM  
Blogger Abby said...

It is very apparent in the sports media world that good looks get you far, for both men and women. As a woman majoring in this area at a university, I do find it necessary to look as best as I can when going to work at the athletic office or networking with sports businessmen.

I also agree that this beauty requirement will not disappear anytime soon. To be on TV, you have to be pretty; sports or not.

10:47 AM  

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