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.
Word came yesterday: The University of Notre Dame has hired Brian Kelly away from the University of Cincinnati to be its new football coach. Kelly, a pro-choice Catholic with extraordinary coaching skill and success, takes the job just six months after the a strong segment of the Notre Dame community protested President Obama's commencement address at the premiere Catholic university, citing Obama's pro-choice beliefs as its point of discontent.
Such sad news today: veteran Los Angeles Times sportswriter Christine Daniels was found dead today in her home. Suicide is the suspected cause. She was 52 years old.
Daniels made national headlines when in 2007 she announced in that she was transitioning from male to female. Then under the byline of Mike Penner, she wrote her groundbreaking sports column:
Where to even begin with Dana Vollmer? Not only is she one of the best swimmers in the world, she's been in the elite ranks since she was a pre-teen. That's right: Vollmer was 12 (!) when she competed in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. The Texas native failed to make the team that year but, as usual, she moved fast: she won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics as part of the 4x200 freestyle relay team that broke a world record that had stood for seventeen years.It is not, however, all smooth sailing (smooth swimming?) for Vollmer. In 2003--the year before she would win her gold medal--Vollmer had heart surgery for a medical condition that nearly kept her out of the pool for good.
Matt Schmitt offers a love letter to Title IX--and the social transformation it ignited, far beyond what was originally envisioned. Schmitt's eight-year-old daughter catches on a Little League baseball team; she's the only girl on the team, she was voted Most Valuable Catcher by her coach last year, and she wants to play for the Major League someday. Because, she just discovered, there's not actually any rule or law to keep women from playing pro baseball. It just hasn't happened yet.