When it comes to women and sports, we've got a long way to go before we reach the promised land of gender equity. Still, when you consider that Title IX just passed in 1972 and that we've got some seriously kickass women athletes to look up to in the wide world of sports today, well, it could be worse. So how are we doing when it comes to women, sports, and advertising? Well, let's start on a high note:
On May 1, a pair of tennis-playing girls—sisters Karli and Tonya Timko—won the won the boys AA Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League doubles title.
Let me take that back: They didn't just win. They freakin' dominated. As singles players on the boys team, they rolled over their opponents all year, dropping only two sets between the two of them. When the season came to a close and titles were on the line, the sisters teamed up as double partners again and hammered their finals opponents, Tin Chu and Drew Gallatin of Thomas Jefferson High, by a total of 6-2, 6-1.
According to their own statements in the press, the sisters, who play for Chartiers-Houston high, have been playing on the boys' tennis team because there haven't been enough girls to field a girls' squad. That dismal state of affairs is a worthy enough topic for conversation, but let's save that for another time. What I want to take a look at is the media coverage of the sisters' victory.
So, Selena Roberts' Alex Rodriguez book, A-rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez, hit the shelves yesterday—earlier than its original release date, due to the jib-jab ratcheted up by the recent reportage on leaked bits of the book. I would be remiss in not mentioning A-rod, but, really…I don't want to read it. God, please don't make me read it.
OK, I'm gonna hafta read it.
Hi there, sports fans. My name is Jonanna Widner, and for the next couple months I'm going to be doing the guest-blogging about the nexus of sports and feminism. Said guest blog will fall under the name "Jock Bitch."
To start, I thought I'd just sort of spell out my relationship to/with sports, which hopefully will explain why I think sports are a feminist subject, and serve as an introduction to the philosophy behind this Jock Bitch.
First off, I am a huge sports fan. I do not qualify as a sports nut, mind you, as that would entail endless hours of trolling web sites for obscure statistics about how many strikes C.C. Sabathia throws per inning when pitching at dusk when the wind is coming from the south, but let's just say ESPN is often the first TV station I turn to when the TV comes on. Let's also say I've been known to Tivo basketball games to save for later, and that I cry regularly due to some sports-related catharsis or other. Last minute heroics are always good: Show me a walk-off home run and say good-bye to the Kleenex. And that's only during the regular season.....
I am not a biker by any stretch of the imagination, but I love biking anyway. You can find me and my family firmly in front of the television watching The Tour de France every July, and one of my big dreams to be able to someday follow the Tour in person.
But because biking is not a mainstream sport, whenever it is shown on television or broadcast anywhere, it's usually the men that are highlighted. Why further marginalize a sport by highlighting (gasp!) women?