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Female Sports Report Recorded Through Peephole

July 23, 2009
ESPN reporter Erin Andrews at the 2007 Georgia...
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Yahoo News put out a story a few days ago about a female sports reporter that had her privacy violated when some creep recorded her through a hotel peep hole, and then posted naked photos of her on the internet.  For those of us who worry about invasions of privacy, it’s just one more instance of being nervous about retaining our privacy when we travel.  Women’s groups are hailing this as a particularly subversive form of harassment as men’s naked bodies are not recorded and put on the internet as journalists.

For women working in sportscasting, there is often the gender bias shown by location:  women get the sidelines.  Erin Andrews, a female sportscaster who reported on the 2009 Superbowl says she is “content” to be on the sidelines, but other women say that this type of belittling behavior doesn’t help women advance in the field:

Erin Andrews, ESPN’s rising sideline star, strikes a similar theme: “I’m really content with what I’m doing right now. That’s not to say that women don’t have a place in play-by-play, but . . . I really like being the eyes and ears on the field.”

But privately, some women seethe with resentment. “This is the most misogynist part of society,” says one, wary of offending her bosses. “It’s the last bastion of acceptable sexism.” Another adds, “I truly believe you could put Pam Oliver [of Fox], Suzy Kolber [and] Michele Tafoya [of ESPN], Lesley Visser and Andrea Kremer in a booth and they’d completely hold their own. But they’ve never, ever been given a chance.”

In the unequal playing field that is TV sports, these women say, a physically unattractive man (say, John Madden or Howard Cosell) can thrive, but an unattractive woman has no chance. At the same time, while a female sportscaster of a certain age can kiss her TV career goodbye, a man of similar age is lauded for his maturity and experience.

Even back in the 1970’s, women were not allowed in the press box:

the first woman to do sideline reporting on “Monday Night Football” — say they’re grateful for the opportunities they’ve had and the progress they’ve made. When she started out as a sportswriter for the Boston Globe in 1974, Visser recalls, her press credentials often carried the notation, “No women or children allowed in the press box.” As a result, she says, “it’s very comforting to me to say that women are sideline reporters now.”

But is it really comfortable to watch women get sidelined?  Is it really comfortable to watch Erin Andrews get videotaped through a hotel room peephole?  ABC News gets the Asshole Business Award of the Week for their title below, stating that Erin Andrews’ “sex appeal encouraged nude video” most likely the way that tight shorts “encourage” sexual assault according to pundits who blame women for men’s rage.  Really, ABC News?  REALLY?  Yeah, they really put it out there.  I don’t know how women can be blamed for men acting like animals, but there you have it.  And while it may seem funny and titillating to see a tv personality naked, just think about how vulnerable everyone is to this type of thing.  Parts of you could be put on-line just as easily, so why blame Erin Andrews because some pervert wanted to see her naked?  Yeesh, if women had to worry about how often men wanted to see them naked all the time, we would never get anything done.

Sportscasting sidelining is apparently not the last bastion of misogyny, apparently you can add videotaping a woman through her hotel room peephole and then being blamed for by ABC News to the list.

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