Male Olympians are usually called “men” by NBC announcers covering the 2012 Olympic Games, but the women? They get the term “girls,” writes Sarah J. Jackson at Role/Reboot. According to Jackson, sexism has reared its annoying head across the pond, and she’s not amused.
During the women’s road race on Sunday, commentators continually referred to the competitors as “girls,” despite the fact that the top finishers for the U.S. were Shelley Olds, 32, Evelyn Stevens, 28 (a former [Lehman] Brothers associate) and Kristin Armstrong, 39 — competing in her third Olympics. That adult women, at the top of their craft, with full lives and countless accomplishments continue to be referred to as “girls” in sports coverage is minimizing, to say the least.
But it’s not just media makers who are guilty of denigrating women athletes. As Jezebel notes, some Olympic viewers have taken to twitter to disparage the hair of Gabby Douglas — who just made history by being the first black woman to win individual Olympic gold in gymnastics — with comments like until she “gets her hair done,” she “shouldn’t be the standout in those [women’s gymnastics] commercials.” Right. Because it’s the hair, not the two gold medals at 16.
In perhaps the creepiest Olympic sexism, London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote in an editorial earlier in the week that the popularity of women’s beach volleyball at the Olympics could be attributed to the “semi-naked women” who were “glistening like wet otters.” Wet otters?
Read Sarah J. Jackson’s entire piece at Role/Reboot.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.