Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Social Progress

Social progress for groups like women doesn't come easy and isn't always smooth. Often, it encounters obstacles.

Last night I watched a baseball playoff game (Yankees v. Astros). I instantly noticed that one of the three broadcasters was a woman. She provided "color commentary" which is useful analysis of the players and game. Her contributions were smart and interesting.

I later learned that the female broadcaster, Jessica Mendoza, made history last night as the first woman to call a nationally-televised MLB playoff game. I also learned that Jessica was an accomplished softball player. She was All-American four times while at Stanford University and a member of the United States women's national softball team from 2004–2010.

That's the good news. The bad news is that there was a large sexist backlash against her appearance. Many men, mostly young, objected to Jessica's presence. They tweeted offensive remarks like these:

"Why do i turn on baseball and hear a woman's voice in the broadcast booth?!? we watch sports to get away from women."

"No one wants to hear a woman in the booth.. i will not listen or watch those games she is on."

"SOS there's a woman talking during my baseball watching."

"she stole a MAN'S job!!!"

I'm not making this up: it was reported here. One woman responded, "It's not surprising that so many men hate the idea of a woman talking baseball, it's surprising that so many are okay SAYING it."

Many people like to believe that we've overcome sexism but comments like these show there's still work to be done. Telling women they aren't welcome in male-dominated environments is not only wrong, it's harmful. It holds women back from being full members of society.

What do you think?


  1. I make a point of looking for women on the field during NFL games (I watch quite a bit this time of year) - it's shocking how few there are that aren't cheerleaders (and don't even get me started on THAT inequity!) or newscasters reporting on the latest injury update. I am thrilled to see Jessica doing colour commentary - I wish the NFL would do this! The comments Jon Gruden makes are inane.

  2. The first EVER? Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that. I actually am surprised about how strong the backlash is. I'm sure these same individuals would be totally fine if the same woman was on the sidelines (or whatever you'd have in baseball), scantily clad, conducting interviews with players who ACTUALLY know something about baseball. But give her the mic for anything other than asking questions and it's a different story. Eyeball. Yuck. - A

  3. The Internet has become a megaphone for stupid. Equality takes time and the willingness to brave stupid comments and just keep moving forward.

  4. I watched (sorry Yanks) and listened and was impressed. Those ignorant comments sound two hundred years old. xo


    1. I agree. They sound like crap uttered by men of my father's generation.

  5. It is so sad that men are so threatened by women. Why can't we all just get along? (sigh)


  6. I have about zero, no make that negative five, interest in sports but I have much interest in how women are treated in this world. I come across this sort of startling and a bit scary anger and hatred on the internet at times, even in situations where it must be angry men with nothing better to do trolling for fun. How necessary is it to go to a site where women are discussing short haircuts and leave comments telling them that short hair on women is unattractive and that's why you never see a stripper with short hair? I think that we live in a world where so many voices can now be heard, whether or not they are intelligent, educated, informed, compassionate, tolerant or I shall even say, valid. I think it leads us to believe there is more of it in the world than there was before, just as more news coverage leads us to think there are more pedophiles. When I had a heated discussion with my brother on FB-the one that ended badly-I told him I would rather hear people's honest opinions so I will know not to befriend them or patronise their business if they are bigots or mysogynists. I make sure I notice and focus on all the good, kind, tolerant, informed people who are also out there.

  7. They are idiots! For goodness sake!!x

  8. There are plenty of 'isms' that we in this society continue to participate in and blemish what this great country was supposedly founded on. It's amazing how many steps we take forward only to realize we have giant leaps yet left to take. Kudos to her for shattering the glass in a field that is male dominated! Great post!

  9. It's sad in 2015 this is going on in America! She is qualified and that is all that should matter!

  10. It's frustrating (and upsetting) to hear what one would hope to be archaic thinking in 2015, but it's so clear that we still have a long, long ways to come as a society.

  11. Used to get a lot of that riding my own motorcycle - sad.

  12. I guess what irked them more was that she actually knew what she was talking about and experienced to be there. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

  13. Can't comment, too upsetting.

  14. I think that none of those men would have made that comment if they did not have the computer to hide behind and I think that some of the probably though they were being funny. The fact is, more and more women are working their way into sports. This year the first woman is an NFL official and it looks like she is doing a fab job. Believe me, if she wasn't we would have heard about it. A woman is now a coach on an NBA team. I was at a high school game this last Friday night and two of the officials were women. It is slow, but happening. Yay!!!