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Women and sports (reporting)

21 November 2013 No Comment

While sitting in class the other day with a fellow classmate discussing our futures, the subject of women covering sports came up. I’m female, pursing a career in sports broadcasting, and my male classmate stated I would have a successful career in sports broadcasting because I’m a woman and guys like to watch women because they’re a lot nicer to look at.

This statement really got me thinking about women and their place in the sports broadcasting industry and just being a woman and having sports knowledge in general.

From my own personal experience, if a guy says he’s a sports fan it’s accepted, no questions asked. If a woman says she’s a sports fan, let the grilling begin.

Even though I’ve played sports my entire life, and grew up watching sports, just like any typical male sports fan – except I’m greeted by raised eyebrows and endless questions the moment I declare my love for sports.

As a die-hard female sports fan, it isn’t enough to say you’re a fan, you have to prove it. Almost every single time I’ve told a guy I like sports or started talking about sports he has immediately drilled me on sports facts, rules, stats, etc., and I have to prove that I have the knowledge before he can respect me as a sports fan.

“Who’s the back-up goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets?” “Who’s the 2005 World Series Champion?” “Who holds the record for most passing yards in a season in the NFL?”

I often get told the only reason I like sports is because I like to look at the “hot athletes”, or I’m just a fan, not someone with real sports knowledge.

So why is it that women have to prove themselves and men don’t? Isn’t that a double standard? I could ramble on forever about this but basically I believe it relates to the old “women’s rights” issue. The world of sports is a world dominated by men.

But wait, not so fast. Tune into TSN, Sportsnet, or Hockey Night in Canada, and you’ll see beautiful women, telling you the latest sports stories and game highlights.

So now I can’t just have the sports knowledge to succeed, I also have to look like a supermodel? The majority of male sports broadcasters don’t look like they’ve walked off the pages of GQ Magazine, and yet the majority of female sports broadcasters look like they’ve just walked off the front page of a fashion magazine.

I guess I could go on about how life isn’t fair and that there’s a double standard when it comes to male and female sports broadcasters but I’ll let it go because I have to go read every article off the ESPN website, get a fake tan, put in my hair extensions, and buy an entire new wardrobe.

By the way, Curtis McElhinney is the back-up goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series, and Drew Brees holds the record for most passing yards in a season in the NFL.

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