One of my favorite feminist activist groups (it seems odd to think about having a favorite activist group and, of course, I don't really rank them) produced one of my favorite "slogans." The Guerrilla Girls have asked this question:
Q: If February is Black History Month and March is Women's History Month, what happens the rest of the year?
This came to mind when reading an ESPN notice that went to the network's employees (and I assume at some later date, the world) celebrating Women's History Month. Its title was "DURING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH, ESPN DEMONSTRATES ITS UNPRECEDENTED COMMITMENT TO WOMEN’S SPORTS" and noted that ESPN is "the leader in providing extensive coverage of women's sports content." First, it's not all that much of an accomplishment to provide an unprecedented commitment to women's sports when there hasn't been much--oh wait, any--commitment to women's sports in this country. It goes on to list all the hours of women's sports coverage it offers. Yet despite ESPN's commitment to coverage of women's sports, men still receive 90 percent of all sports media coverage (that includes print and television). If ESPN was so precedent-setting, don't you think more media outlets would have gotten on board in regards to covering women's sports? Don't you think maybe ESPN would have inspired a little competition? Would have shown the others out there that covering women's sports can be a good thing?
So here it is, the last day of Women's History Month. I forgot to survey my sport sociology class to ask them whether they had noticed this past month ESPN's unprecedented commitment. I would venture to say no. I haven't. Sure they cover the women's NCAA tournament but I don't think you can count that toward your women's history month efforts; it is March Madness after all.
Still I wouldn't want the people at ESPN to wake up tomorrow morning and say "Well another March has past, we can scale back our coverage of women's sports now."