How To Be a Woman on a Woman-Hating Beat?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 30 2009 1:15 PM

How To Be a Woman on a Woman-Hating Beat?


Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix makes an interesting connection between ESPN’s prompt response to the creepy nude tape of sportscaster Erin Andrews and its extended silence on the rape allegations against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger . If ESPN truly understood from the Andrews case the abusive relationship between women and the world of pro sports, Reilly argues, it should have known the importance of covering the rape charges. He writes:


The diminishment of women is part of pro sports' DNA. Think of the NFL's cheerleaders and the NBA's "dancers," for example, or Playboy's "Sexiest Sportscaster" contest, or the prolific promiscuity of pro athletes as a group. (As Kevin Elster of the New York Mets once told Sports Illustrated: "You can get sex every night. On the road. At home. It doesn't matter.")

That doesn’t mean Roethlisberger is guilty of rape, he goes on. It just means ESPN has a responsibility to report on the news that he’s been accused of it.

There was a lot of talk following the Erin Andrews incident of how hard it is to be a woman sportscaster, to function and gain respect in a world that so degrades women. These same issues come up for women covering hip-hop, another world frequently accused of "hating women." In a roundtable discussion years ago about hip-hop journalism , Dream Hampton, who co-wrote Jay-Z’s autobiography, The Black Book , told an upsetting tale of the sort of threats she encountered covering the genre. While she was working on a profile of Dr. Dre, Hampton learned of accusations that he had hit another female reporter. Soon after, the owner of Dr. Dre’s record label told Hampton during an interview that "she shouldn’t say anything stupid in print that might cause her to 'get her face all fucked up.’"

What is it going to take for sports and hip-hop to be safe beats for women? Will these problems dissipate as more women reporters flood the scene, or does there need to be some more profound shift at the core of these often misogynistic institutions?

Photograph of Erin Andrews by Kevork Djansezian and photograph of Ben Roethlisberger by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.