Back Sports Page Question of The Day 1/7
Every Week Back Sports Page asks Five Questions to staff and experts. The questions and answers are posted throughout this week on Backsportspage.com.
This week we put the focus around the world of sports!! Check out BSP for this week’s questions We have multiple Back Sports Page Contributors to give their insights to our questions.
Are you happy with the way Women are perceived in sports media?
Ashley Mayle (Back Sports Page): Outside of the sports arena I find that women are portrayed in a more feminine light., which is okay. For instance, when a female athlete is in an advertisement campaign for a magazine can sometimes be portrayed as a sex symbol. Take Ronda Rousey and her feature on the cover of ESPN magazine, The Body Issue. Almost nothing was left to the imagination when she was sporting only pink boxing tape and a tan. I think we all can agree she is a beautiful, fit woman but I think the magazine was trying to grab reader attention with her looks and not her talent. Now I know Kevin Love appeared in the same light in the ESPN mag as well. There difference here is I do not think Kevin Love would have to prove his basketball talent beyond the magazine pictures whereas Rousey might. Yes women athletes can and are feminine and are allowed to portray that; however, I think there is a fine line in female athletes being able to show that femininity in a magazine and their skillset that got them featured in the magazine still be the main topic of conversation.
Matt Berkson (Back Sports Page):The key word in this question is "perceived." That means answering it based on how the average fan/the general public view women in sports. If the word was "portrayed" then it would be answering it based on how the media presents women in media. In either case I think that women are perceived in sports media not much different than they are in society overall. Progress has been made over the past few decades and there are exceptions, but to me women are still mostly viewed as the "pretty face" on a report or telecast.
I watch the NHL Network from time to time for highlights and over the past week they've had a host by the name of Kelly Nash. She is a physically beautiful woman that you cannot help but notice immediately as you turn on the channel. I'm sure as I say this you can picture any number of other similar female hosts of numerous sports programs all over the TV and internet. There is an obvious correlation between having an attractive woman on a program and it's ratings, so no surprise the amount of attractive woman that have been hired to fill roles like this.
The dangerous thing is when we as a society only treat a woman based on her physical appearance and not by her personality, smarts, and ultimately knowledge of the sports topic she is speaking about. That is the "perception" of women in media and way too many fans unfortunately don't look past a woman's looks.
At the same time, there are also too many media executives who cast attractive female hosts in roles where whether or not they are as knowledgable as their male counterpart on a sport, the executives are ok if they just look good….As again the media executive's job is simply to get the best ratings possible for the show.
For me when I watch a sporting event I just want the most knowledgable and insightful person as part of the broadcast regardless if they are male or female. I would have just as much of an issue if a women was cast just to be a pretty face as I am with a guy like Phil Simms providing essentially zero valuable content or insight during his broadcast.
Ryan Morik (Beast of the East Sports):- I am happy with the way women are perceived in sports media. Many more women have been earning jobs in the field to attract other audiences, but these women know their stuff. Many sports fan want only men to be involved in sports, the fact is we live in a society where women can do what men do and vice versa.
Eric Webb (Back Sports Page):No. On shows like First Take Molly Qerim doesn't get much time to give her input on sports topics. She just gets to say she agrees/disagrees then she is obligated to take us to commercial break.
Jason Leach (Harlem TImes):I've seen improvement over the past few years with the coverage of women's sports. ESPN now has ESPN W and Serena Williams has won the SI Sportsperson of the year. Plus until her loss to Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey was getting a lot of coverage. Some would say too much coverage