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Along with the limited amount of appearance time and the low level of pay, these women deal with extreme level of harassment on a daily basis. While, most cases have not involved sexual harassment, these women are still faced with verbal and social harassment. Stereotypes are the main way that female sports broadcasters are discriminated against. You know it’s true, most men don’t want to hear sports talk come out of woman’s mouth. They would rather rather judge her by how attractive she is.
Women are mainly discriminated by male athletes, and most of the time it is done verbally; Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, is guilty of this. In 2017 a female sports broadcaster, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked him a question about passing routes and Newton’s response was beyond inappropriate. “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes…It’s funny”; Newton said to a person who was just trying to do their job. This is just one example as to how women in this industry are stereotyped against, just because they are women wanting to talk sports. Let the women gain fame in the sports they love talking about, just like the men have, and the stereotype can be abandoned.
While verbal harassment is the most common, there have been quite a few instances where verbal has jumped to physical harassment. There have been multiple occasions wheremale athletes have been known to drop their towels as a way to taunt female reporters during interviews; this has happened many times to Kristine Leahy (a well known female sports broadcaster.)
Females are harassed by anyone and everyone in the sports field, from athletes to coaches to even the fans. “A prime example of this was seen in 2010 during the World Cup in South Africa. When
Spain played their first match against Switzerland in Durban, they lost 0-1, and as soon as the match ended, the Spanish press (and social media) blamed this defeat on one person: Sara Carbonero, a TV presenter who was reporting on the match from the field. Fans blamed Carbonero’s presence as a distraction for the goalie and many made unrelated remarks on her lack of professionalism and how she could not be a proper journalist because of her beauty. It was seen as impossible for an attractive female presenter to be good at her job.” Imagine how unworthy Carbonero felt, this poor woman was just trying to do her job and was then blamed for Spain losing. These so called fans will do anything thing in their power to avoid that fact that their team lost, that they look to blame a reporter that had no effect on the game. These fans were so angry with their team losing that they thought that blaming the loss of an innocent female reporter would make the defeat feel that much better. While fans were the main source of this rumor, they used social media to get their claim across.
Social media is a huge way that women come across this harassment or the stereotypes. We live in the 21st century and technology is at the tips of our fingers. Anyone with an opinion can voice their thoughts through practically any social network. From Instagram, to Snapchat, to Twitter, women in this field are surrounded with negativity from all of these sites. While comments on these networks are usually men bashing these women for their appearance or knowledge of the game, sexual harassment through social media is becoming more and more common.
While most people will say that women do not belong in the sports broadcasting field, I am here to argue that their claim is unnecessary and unfair. These people simply just don’t want women to broadcast sports because they believe that women should stick to fashion and makeup, and that they should not associate with sports. Women should have the equal rights as men to display their passion for something that they love. There should be no shame put on a women for doing what she believes she is good at. Just because a woman doesn’t have the experience of playing that particular sport, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have the equal amount of knowledge than the man.
Knowing that sexism will never be completely resolved, there are steps that can be taken to improve situations. Steps like increasing the amount of air time for these women, bumping these women’s salaries, and reducing the amount of harassment these women encounter. These brave women have already risked a lot to enter this male dominant field. They have put their lives on the line, knowing that their chances weren’t great going in. With that being said, it’s time for people to stop being so childish, and just give these women a shot, because if they had the chance, they would probably show up so many people.
The time has come for women to been seen as equals in this field. The time has come to improve the working conditions for these women, from appearance time, to level of pay, and to reducing the amount of harassment. The time is now; now or never.