Monday, August 15, 2016

Crassness at the Rio Games

So far - and bear in mind we're only just over a week in - much of the media has managed to sink to appalling new lows when reporting on women athletes. Commenting on Katinka Hosszu's world record and gold medal in the women's swimming 400 metre individual medley an NBC commentator credited her husband with being responsible for her record swim but then his euphoric celebration of her win became the media focus - because husbands aren't supposed to be proud of their wives' achievements apparently. Then, when reporting on the trap shooting bronze medal won by US woman, Corey Cogdell-Unrein, the local newspaper, Chicago Tribune, initially tweeted leaving out her name but mentioning that she is married to a local footballer. You can read about these and other crass comments here and here and there's an interesting article of how sexism is rampant in sport reporting in this article by Gabrielle Moss at

It is a sad commentary on just how women athletes and, for that matter high achieving women in any sphere, are viewed because I don't believe for a minute that these are aberrations. These are reflections of a society which has yet to really come to terms with the fact that women are sentient human beings whose choices of spouse (not to mention garments or personal decoration) are not of more importance than their other achievements.

But while they are the most often insulted in this way, women aren't the only ones who are getting idiocies thrown their way. When eighteen year old Australian, Kyle Chalmers, won swimming gold in the men's 100 metre freestyle event our local newspaper - yes, I'm looking at you The West Australian - used the headline 'Golden Child'. Although Chalmers is in his final year of school he is still legally old enough to marry, vote and undertake any other adult activity but he's a 'child' in the eyes of this newspaper - and, while I know it would have been one person who created this headline, that no-one realised this was inappropriate as it went through the process of publication speaks volumes.


Jo said...

I must admit I never notice such things although when you point it out I agree with your views.

Helen V. said...

Once I started noticing it, Jo, I kept seeing it more and more. Now, as you will have gathered, it really annoys me.