Wednesday, October 7, 2015
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?