Most women are thought by men to sit around at night watching “Grey’s Anatomy” and Lifetime movies while reading Cosmopolitan, but what about the women who enjoy watching what Woody Paige has to say on “Around the Horn” and who have a deep emotional investment in the MLB postseason? Being a woman interested in sports you find yourself surrounded by a lot of men with a lot of opinions. Those men like to give their opinions about the 49ers’ defense, or who will win the World Series.
Some like to comment on the role of female reporters in sports. There have been countless times where I have heard men say that they do not trust female sports broadcasters because most do not know what they are talking about, or that if the broadcaster is attractive, they do not really care what she’s saying. After a few weeks working in a sports newsroom in downtown San Francisco, I have seen what it’s like to be the only woman in the office and what kinds of things women encounter when in a man’s world.
Constantly having to prove yourself is the name of the game. Mixing up a team a player is on or not knowing a part of a statistic can hurt when trying to prove you can be one of the boys, and could discredit your sports knowledge. If a male does this, it’s forgotten, but each mistake made by a woman is just another reinforcement of the assumption that women do not know as much about sports as men do. Sometimes even if a woman does know her sports, men believe it’s because we like watching the attractive men in tight uniforms.
Women’s work and knowledge in sports can be as good, if not better than male broadcasters’, but some male broadcasters might not want to admit it or give credit where it’s due. For example, while working in the sports media office, one of my bosses complimented me on the work I had been doing so far for the TV station. My male coworker then said to me, “I think he likes you more than your work,” meaning he complimented me because he found me attractive, not because my work was valued. If I was a male, my coworker might have said, “Nice job, dude,” or nothing at all. That same coworker also had the nerve to ask me out on a date after our shift was over.
As a woman in the sports world this kind of behavior is expected from men and is something women realistically have to deal with, but shouldn’t have to. Women have never been seen and treated as equals in the sports world. Women’s sports do not get as many viewers as men’s athletics do, and some sports like baseball and football still do not allow women to play. Nevertheless women love these sports just as much as men do, and even though women have been shut out of being players, women can still remain part of the game by being involved with the media surrounding it. If stereotypes, discrimination and sexual harassment are worth enduring for the love of the game, then it is in my opinion that women might have more love and desire to stay involved with sports than men do.
If, when I leave USF find myself working in anything other than sports, I would assume something went terribly wrong along my life path. Even though some annoying male habits may make for some less than ideal situations, a career involving sports would make up for it because I feel that I’m not working at all when I am doing what I love to do.