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You're a woman AND a sports reporter?!

The conversation is always the same.

“So what is your job?” to which I answer, “I am the sports editor at the Brunswickan.”

Here it comes . . . wait for it . . .

“Oh really?! That’s awesome. Don’t see many girls who can talk sports. Good for you.”

Really, people?

First of all, that statement is rife with inaccuracy. Kate Beirness is a host for TSN SportsCenter, Erin Hawksworth is on Sportsnet Canada, Shelby Blackley is the Canadian University Press sports editor and well, here I am, sports editor of the Brunswickan – that’s only to name a few females in the world of sports.

It’s not all that unusual to see women stepping onto the court, turf or rink and leading the interviews. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware there is a dominant male presence in sports coverage – and in my skirt and blazer I stand out – but I just look at it as a challenge that I eagerly accept.

One of the many reasons I enjoy covering sports is that I have played many over the years and it has been a crucial part of my life – physically, mentally and socially. Pair this with my desire to write, and boom, I’ve found a lifelong career. Now, many people enter the sports writing ring for their own reasons, but there is always one common factor: we are passionate about the game and want to talk about it. This is true for print, television or radio.

You would think the mere love for sport would be enough, but sadly it isn’t the case. Men, for the most part – don’t worry, I am not condemning all of you – see women as struggling to grasp concepts, missing key plays or not understanding the dynamics, and have an abundance of other reasons as to why they shouldn’t be right in the action and covering games.

Prime example: when you type in “women and sports journalism” into Google, the first hit is “40 Hottest Sports Reporters.” We aren’t being taken seriously. “Well, that list could include men too!” Sorry, you’re wrong, only women.

Scarlett McCourt even wrote a piece on Dailywildcat.com entitled “Women still have a long way to go in sports journalism.”

There is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed.

Another prime example is the phrase “you have a face for broadcast.” Although it is meant as a compliment it can be misconstrued – a “face” for broadcast? What about my experience in soccer translating to word? What about my ability to befriend people who give me tips on a lead? What about my ability to write a 1000-word piece in less than an hour and be proud to have my name on the byline?

Does any of this matter in the world of broadcast? Or is just a “pretty face”?

In McCourt’s article she quotes a statistic that doesn’t surprise me, which makes it all the worse: “According to a 2012 study from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, at 150 newspapers and websites around the country, 90.4 per cent of sports editors were men and 88.3 per cent of sports reporters were men.”

There are advantages to being a female in sports journalism – female athletes are at ease with me sooner than with a man, and men don’t mind talking to me – but it’s being dubbed a “female sports reporter” rather than “sports reporter” like my male counterparts that hits home.

I am female and I am a sports journalist, but one does not have relevance over the other; they are just two ways I can describe myself. It’s 2014, people. Try not to seem so surprised when I can discuss last night’s hockey game without just saying, “I really liked the jerseys.”

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3 Comments

  1. commenter738924 Reply

    Are we really at the point as a society where it’s okay to be offended by “Oh really?! That’s awesome…”? It’s the same reaction a man would get as a secretary, nurse etc. There are lots of men in those positions, but they aren’t on par with the majority. No one is saying you should quit because it’s a man’s job.

  2. RealStirfryguy Reply

    Commenter738924, She is talking about  misconceptions and blatant sexism.  It shouldn’t surprise us to see a woman, or man doing any job.  Why aren’t any men included in the 40 hottest list?  Darren Dutychesen is hot enough to be there no?  Dan O’Toole is short but cute.  

    Also, to argue from the point of men not being the majority in something else makes it equal doesn’t really cut the mustard.  Men dominate at every job I can think of, except one. 

    Talking about this subject, like any other will help people understand more about it.  People will see  that there shouldn’t be walls or barriers for men/women in any job.  People will understand that sexism is unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.  In that vein I think it is a great article and I anxiously await more good work from the Brunsies.

    John

  3. Pingback: CUP NewswireYou’re a woman AND a sports reporter?! | CUP Newswire

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