Buffalocentric has thrown down the gauntlet so to speak. I will not to rewrite his blog post since doing so would be a disservice to him, but clearly we are meant to take the ball and run with it.
Being a dude, I don’t think I could ever fully appreciate what women have to go through when dealing with an existence in a male dominated field. Sports most certainly is one, but perhaps this goes on in professional fields like science and mathematics that are traditionally dominated by males. Sit and think for a moment. Where do you see smart, incisive commentary by women on the sports stage? Count out how many women you see talking hockey or baseball. How far do you get in before your brain locks up?
We desperately need more women to commit to expressing their views on sports, especially on the major networks and media outlets. Locally there is a pretty diverse group of female writers getting it done, but that is confined to the amateur circuit.
Local television gives us nothing. Ginger Geoffery used to at WKBW, but she has moved on to news. Local radio gives us bupkis as well. The Buffalo News met with owner Terry Pegula recently – four of the eleven who were there representing the News were women, and none were from the sports department. Maybe this is something that just takes time to work itself out. Maybe there is a bottleneck of quality female talent about to bust out on the sports scene.
Would any of that change perceptions on women and sports? Maybe. Sports is a pretty conservative place to hang out. It is loaded with alpha males, and the separation of participation along gender lines forms a natural break in our consciousness about the place of women in mens sports. The first women are sent to is the sidelines to report, which ranks somewhere between public relations for third world dictators and social conservative congressmen locked in a brothel closet in terms of respect. Women rarely get near the play-by-play booth. These things are tough to break down and concerted effort is needed to do so.
For now, we will have to make due with the amateur circuit. The respect for women in sports journalism will come in time. It’ll be earned by putting the pen to paper and proving it. While blogging still maintains an outsider status in sports, it clearly has one thing going for it that traditional media does not. We have better women writers in larger numbers. As members of the blogging community, maybe we have an obligation to point that out more forcefully now to affect change.