NBC and the Chicago Tribune have set the Twitterverse complaining about sexist coverage of women athletes in the 2016 Olympics, according to the Huffington Post. It’s not just women whining that male reporters are being unfair to female athletes. Mr. Lee Moran, the Trends editor of the Huffington Post, wrote an article, entitled “The Media is Saying and Doing a Bunch of Sexist Stuff During the Olympics.” Men and women are complaining about sexism in reporting the Olympics on Twitter and Facebook: Professor Tim Gibson of George Mason University, sports writer Charlotte Wilder, writer Laura Jo Crabtree, writer Renee Bracey Sherman, Danish photographer Peter-Martin, as well as plenty of ordinary people.
OK, so Hosszú (swimmer) shatters a world record by 2 seconds, and NBC's broadcaster gives the credit to her husband and coach. WTF? #Sexism— Tim Gibson (@timgibson) August 7, 2016
As the Inquisitr already reported, NBC commentator Dan Hicks credited Katinka Hosszu’s gold medal to her husband. To be fair, Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s husband, Shane Tusup, is also her coach. As her coach, especially as the man who helped her change her training methods, Tusup is undoubtedly entitled to some of the credit. But it was Hosszu, not Tusup, who was in the water breaking the world record for the 400-meter individual medley.
According to Associated Press, Dan Hicks was trying to credit Shane Tusup as “the guy responsible” for her improvement, and that it was “impossible” to tell Katinka Hosszu’s story without giving her husband/coach proper credit. He admitted he could have been more careful about how he phrased it.
“With live TV, there are often times you look back and wished you had said things differently.”
The Chicago Tribune has come in for its own share of shaming for sexist reporting. Corey Cogdell-Unrein is competing in her third Olympics. She was also at Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. She just won her second bronze medal. The Trib tweeted about her medal. The tweet did not mention her name or her sport, just that her husband is a lineman for the Chicago Bears.
Twitter demands that statements be limited to 140 characters, but many sports fans were annoyed that the Tribune couldn’t find a way to squeeze in her name (Corey Cogdell or Corey Cogdell-Unrein) and her sport (women’s trap shooting.) They were neither shy nor slow in taking to Twitter themselves to express their displeasure.
@chicagotribune Shouldn't you use her name? She is an Olympic athlete or does it not count if she is married?— Andre Jenkins (@AndreCJenkins) August 7, 2016
What about the women’s gymnastics team? Given the way they triumphed last night, surely they were treated with the respect serious athletes deserve, weren’t they?
The Chicagoist complained that an unnamed NBC announcer “described Team USA’s excited huddle post dominating the gymnastics qualifying round as appearing as if the women ‘might as well be standing in the middle of a mall,’ instead of, you know, having just crushed the competition by an insane margin.” After all, why else might young women huddle together to discuss their victories?
Unfortunately, this sort of description of female athletes isn’t a surprise. CNN reported recently on a new study from Cambridge University on the differences in the way male and female athletes are described.
“Analyzing over 160 million words from decades of newspapers, academic papers, tweets and blogs, the study finds men are three times more likely than women to be mentioned in a sporting context, while women are disproportionately described in relation to their marital status, age or appearance.”
Men, the study confirmed, are likely to be described in terms of physical prowess, strength, or size. Women are likely to have their physical appearance described or their status as wives or mothers. The Athletic Build described tennis player Serena Williams only in terms of her derrière (although they used a more colloquial word). Jezebel criticized the Chicago Tribune for describing Corey Cogdell as Mitch Unrein’s wife, as if being married to a football player was more important than being a two-time Olympic medal winner.
It’s 2016. Women have had the right to vote in the United States since 1920. Women have competed in the Olympics since 1900. Yet, after more than a century of Olympic competition and nearly a century of suffrage, women athletes still face sexism and disrespect.
[Photo by Hassan Ammar/AP Images]