Yesterday, while reading the sports section of the New York Times, I literally had to check the date to make sure we weren’t in a different century. There wasn’t one full article or photo of a female athlete. OK, that’s not entirely true. There was a photo of a football player with a string of female cheerleaders behind him. And there was one tiny (photo-less) blurb about Caroline Wozniacki and an equally small mention of Michelle Wie. But come on, NYT, 14 pages and hardly a mention of any women? Out of 50-plus photos, the only females included were those in cheerleader uniforms dutifully standing behind a male football player? You know better than that, don’t you?
Good thing we have our own special site–ESPN for women (espnW). Or is it?
When this all-female sports site was rolled out last year, some critics worried that it was condescending to women.
One female sports blogger, Julie DiCaro, wrote:
It seems like this is the broadcasting equivalent of making something pink and putting sparkles on it. For those of us that have worked really hard to keep up with the boys, that’s kind of tough to hear.
And researcher Michael Messner, who authored a University of Southern California study that found women’s sports comprised just 1.4% of the airtime on Sport Center last year noted:
espnW might ultimately ghettoize women’s sports and kind of take ESPN off the hook in terms of actually covering them on its main broadcast.
Ironically, this debate was covered by the NY Times.
So, to everyone at the Times, we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt for yesterday’s “oversight” (who knows, maybe all of your reporters who know there is more to sports than the upcoming football season were stuck in Hurricane Irene). But just in case you found yourselves short on ideas, here are a few women you could have written about in yesterday’s paper:
- Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova or Vera Zvonareva–the U.S. Open starts today, you know.
- Women’s Professional Soccer–the WPS finals were held Saturday afternoon in Rochester, NY in front of a record-crowd of over 10,000 fans
- Canadian Women’s Open–while you did devote all of two sentences to Michelle Wie, you certainly could have expanded on your coverage of her and many other pro golfers here.
- Ironman Louisville–this 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run was held yesterday. Perhaps you could have profiled some of the top female contenders like Hillary Biscay who was competing in her 50th Ironman race. That’s no small feat.
We trust we have been heard, New York Times.
Photo: New York Times