Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The latest in sport and sexual harassment

Remember last year when sideline reporter Erin Andrews of ESPN was approached from behind by a collegiate football player who simulated a sexual maneuver as he was leaving the field? Well if you don't check it out here, along with my take on that situation and Andrews generally.
At that time, I noted that many people got angry at the people who spoke out against the harassment and that Andrews pretty much laughed it off in that awkward way one laughs off sexual harassment when you can't make a big deal out of it because, well, you're a woman in sports and you like your job. But I kind of knew this would not be the end of it. And I hate to say "I told you so" but...
A video of Andrews naked in a hotel room has appeared on the internet. An as-yet-unknown peeper took the video through a peep hole he/she drilled through a wall or door.
In no way am I saying the Andrews asked for it. But this is not surprising given that she has failed to speak up against the overt sexualization of her. It is possible that even if she had spoken out, the peeper still would have proceeded to film her. But it's too bad that this is the tipping point--a very extreme tipping point. Because no one is saying, as they did in the football player situation, that this is just funny or playful. But media outlets cover it by showing stills or blurred out portions of the video in their coverage of an event that they admit is an outrageous violation of privacy. Curious, eh?
No one can completely control their own image. Especially a woman, especially a woman in sports. I think this situation illustrates, though, that women like Andrews need to put more pressure on the media and the general public to respect her job skills and not just her looks.

And in a very generalized but interesting example of Canadian news media and American news media we have this article from the National Post and this one from the Washington Examiner. The latter talks very little about the event or the sexualization of Andrews but rather the double standard women who have never played a sport face in getting into broadcasting that sport (versus men who get broadcasting jobs without playing experience). The Canadian paper talks about the sexualization of women generally but how this event has everything to do with Andrews being a woman in sport. So nice to have a mainstream outlet make that point--so I don't have to! It also reminds us the Lisa Olson incident, which occurred over 20 years ago! Seems that the only thing that has changed is the technology.

9 comments:

kiwi said...

Greetings from New Zealand Ken.
Ken your blog on a young lady of twelve was pointed out to me by one of the women I coach in rugby.
Her view was that if Canadian women up to the age of sixteen can play with and against male teenagers why could they not do the same.

After I finished banging my head against the wall I told her it just will not happen.

Now opening rugby to all under sixteen year olds is a scary thought, what happens if some kiwi lad of 250LB who has played the game since he was five happens to be propping against a young lass ?
We separate the genders at eleven here for good reason, a senior womens team is about the equal of a thirteen year old boys team.

Would a kiwi boys team target a lass playing on the side of the scrum, yes they would, not because of her gender but because she is the smallest and is easy to smash out of a ruck.

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