Women aren’t supposed to have opinions about sports, unless it’s considered sufficiently girly — say, figure-skating, or literally any sport in which the players are female.
So spare a thought for the brave women who make their careers being experts in sports — writers, broadcasters, referees — whose Twitter feeds are crowded with threats, vitriol and unsolicited opinions about their appearance.
Women such as Erin Molan.
The sports reporter quit the Kyle and Jackie O Show on KIIS FM last year after being quizzed on air about whether or not she’d had a breast enlargement, and how many sportsman she’d slept with.
The ever-charming Kyle Sandilands informed her that “no one is listening” after she actually tried to steer the conversation back towards sports.
“And as this will be my final week, I’d like to say thank you so much for having me,” she said graciously, by way of quitting live on air.
Molan, who also appears on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show told News.com.au that sexism is and continues to be just part of the job.
“When I started I got a lot of ‘you should be in the kitchen’, and those were the nice ones,” she said.
“I’ve copped some nasty tweets and comments. You always see them, but I’m much better at dealing with them now. You’ve got to have a good support network and be in a good place. If I’m feeling tired and vulnerable, it will affect me more.”
US sports anchor Julie DiCaro has written about her experiences as a woman who also dared to express an opinion about sports.
“The first time I was ever called a ‘cunt’,” she wrote for Sports Illustrated recently, “…was on a sports blog in 2006. The comment that evoked the slur had nothing to do with the guy who aimed it at me. I had disagreed — politely — with something he had said about the Cubs’ starting lineup, and that prompted a reply along the lines of ‘why would you bat Todd Walker second, you filthy cunt?
“…the message got through loud and clear: ‘You may not share your sports opinion while, at the same time, being a woman’.”
Molan told News.com.au that she’s looking forward to a time when her experience and opinions are more important to viewers than what she wears and her sex life.
“A lot of male sports journalists cop it horrifically, the difference is they’ll cop it over what they said and did, we’ll cop it on what we look like or wear,” she said.