Women in sports are awesome. Take my empirical evidence of one – women are great and two – women rocked at the Rio Olympics. 32 medals taken home by great sporting women. The Australian women’s Rugby Sevens won gold! Emma Mckeon won more medals than the highest Australian swimming medal earning man Kyle Chambers. I mean, 6 out of the top 10 medal earning athletes at the Olympics this year in Rio were women (Olympicchannel.com, 2016)! So it still blows my mind when the media’s representation of women in sports is still problematic. That, and women involved in sports in ways such as a presenter, or a commentator, are sill not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
The sports presenting business is a tough gig. You’ve got to know the sport you’re commenting on, you have to know whether that goal was in or whether or not the referee’s call was just. And you know what? Most presenters know what they’re talking about, female or male. But to this day it is still such a minefield when it comes to women in the media presenting sports. Some USA channels, such as ESPN, are representing women in a forward way, with Linda Cohn being a regular sportscaster on the US tv screens (Cohn, 2016). But women on Australian screens presenting and commentating on sports is something that still is not taken seriously, and misogyny is still rife within the male dominated space. This can be seen by the way Eddie Mcguire joked openly about drowning journalist Caroline Wilson. As disgusting as this is in itself to joke about, there are numerous things wrong with this. Eddie Mcguire is a tv media personality who is also the President of the Collingwood AFL team (Booker and Gough, 2016). He then is seen to have a certain amount of influence, and media presence. So when he makes the malignant comments about award winning, 17 year career sports journalist Caroline Wilson (The Age, 2016) like below, it can be seen why there has been such an uproar in the way he has so casually made these remarks.
McGuire: In fact I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year. Caroline Wilson. And I’ll put in ten grand straight away- make it twenty. [laughter] And if she stays under, fifty.
Transcript borrowed from http://erinriley.com.au/archives/2912 (Riley, 2016)
Mcguire is not alone though. This sexism towards women who have attempted to make a name in the Australian sporting media sphere, whether it be by commentating or being a renown journalist, is not a isolated incident (Reynolds, 2016).
“Not only do they face constant criticism about their looks and knowledge of sports — and crass and lewd chauvinistic comments — they are increasingly having to ensure their personal security” Jacquelin Magnay regarding women in sporting media (Reynolds. E, 2016).
To change these perceptions and attitudes towards women in sporting media, first there needs to be more celebrations of those women who are trying to break that glass ceiling. When the women who have been involved in sporting media for years and years can be treated with equal respect like their male counterparts, then maybe we can start changing the misogynistic attitudes towards women in sports as well.
Booker, C. and Gough, D. (2016). Eddie McGuire in hot water over Caroline Wilson ice pool gibe. [online] The Age. Available at: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/eddie-mcguire-in-hot-water-over-caroline-wilson-ice-pool-threat-20160619-gpmp1x.html [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].
Cohn, L. (2016). ESPN Sportscaster | Women Broadcasters | Speaker & Moderator. [online] Linda Cohn. Available at: http://lindacohn.net/ [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].
Olympicchannel.com. (2016). The Olympic Channel. [online] Available at: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/ [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].
Reynolds, E. (2016). Horror stories of female sports reporters. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/sport/sports-life/its-not-just-erin-andrews-horror-stories-of-female-sports-reporters/news-story/ae993a7dbdd8752a6091692c835522ef [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].
Riley, E. (2016). Eddie McGuire, Caroline Wilson and violence against women: the AFL must act.. [online] erinriley.com.au. Available at: http://erinriley.com.au/archives/2912 [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].
The Age. (2016). AFL News, Ladder, Fixture, Scores & Tipping 2015 | Real Footy. [online] Available at: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/by/Caroline-Wilson-hve92 [Accessed 23 Aug. 2016].