Sports Media Sexism ‘Infuriating’ and Just Plain ‘Tired’

Sports media critic Dave Zirin has posted on his Edge of Sports blog (7/6/09) about Wimbledon tennis tournament host All England Club having “blithely admitted that for women players ‘physical attractiveness is taken into consideration’ when it comes to court assignments” and how “several players, including some of these ‘easy-on-the-eye unknowns,‘ were upset with the setup”:

But much of the media dismissed the story as unimportant. L.Z. Granderson, a normally sane voice in the ESPN archipelago, wrote a column in which he stated simply, “I don’t see the harm.” After conceding the obvious–that the policy is sexist–Granderson played devil’s advocate: “I actually find the Wimbledon officials’ honesty quite refreshing…. Last I checked, gender equity in the workplace wasn’t a beer on tap at the Kit Kat Club. Sometimes people like what they like, and accepting that also requires a certain degree of tolerance.”

That would mean tolerance for sexism, an acceptance of the fact that no matter what their skills, women athletes should be prepared to be seen as objects first and athletes second.

Having written for some time of such matters, for Zirin, “the fact that sportswriters don’t only ignore this practice but defend it is more than just annoying, upsetting or infuriating. It’s tired.”