The sad news came down just a few weeks ago: It Takes a Team, the pioneering project of the Women's Sports Foundation dedicated to challenging homophobia in sports, has been canceled due to budget cuts. An educational program founded in 1996, It Takes a Team was based on four powerful facts ...
Here's something I learned today: Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the U.S., gave a series of lectures in 1859 that emphasized the importance of physical
activity in the lives of girls-going so far as to define the first law of life as the law of exercise. Blackwell argued that a society that neglects that activity of girls-or, as the case may be, provides obstacles to it-denies girls "both happiness and life well lived."
It's 150 years later, and still, the freedom of American girls and women to live active, strong, healthy lives is still not on par with their male counterparts. Luckily, we have
another strong voice that is taking on Blackwell's legacy by taking the physicality of females seriously -- and without body-size hate.
No surprise here: the internets can be a hostile space women. Women
who are sports fans and athletes find their fair share of, by turns,
erasure and hostility.
As Salon's Broadsheet points out, you can't even Google "female athlete of the decade" or even "best female athlete of the decade" without be bombarded by "hottest female athlete" paraphernalia that is enough to depress the most passionate
fan. Likewise, paging through the daily coverage of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, you'd be forgiven if you started to wonder if you'd entered some kind of time warp in which such a thing as a "female athlete" or "female sports fan" or, hell, even a "female sportwriter" had not been invented yet.
I assure you, they -- we -- are out there. And not finding the the digital world an especially hospitable space for women who dig sports, gals are creating their own online news networks and communities, filling the void with bright, intelligent, and passionate commentary that is grounded in a belief that women matter.
It might be hard
to find them if you dare to brave Google to track them down, so here's your handy primer on the best of women and sports on the internet. I hope you'll join me there!
I'm not a sports fan because of a guy I'm dating, or as an excuse to tailgate. I admit to exulting a bit when I can dismantle the preconception of who a sports fan is, or who a woman is, simply by talking about sports, which I love anyway. And I love the chance to have my own preconceptions dismantled when we chatter together about sports.With that in mind, the #3 reason why this feminist is a sports fan (and the very FIRST reason I started following the games) is ...
In some ways, the news is anti-climactic: Michael David Barrett, an insurance executive of Illinois, pled guilty yesterday to the interstate stalking of ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews.
More specifically, Barrett admitted to buying information about Andrews over the internet; traveling to follow Andrews; staying in three hotel rooms next to hers (the hotels told him which room was hers); twice filming videos of Andrews while she was naked through the door's peephole; posting those videos online; and trying to sell the videos to TMZ.
It's just another chapter in the long, long story of the objectification of Erin Andrews.
But what stands out about yesterday's hearing is that for once, it gave the 31-year-old sportscaster the chance to speak for herself -- and what it is like for her to pursue a job she loves while navigating fierce misogyny and harassment.