Today in shitty treatment of women athletes

bouchard

Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard just became the first woman from her country to advance to the semis of the Australian Open in over three decades. Way to go, Eugenie! What do you want to know about her history-making game? How she prepped before facing Ana Ivanovic? What she thinks put her over the edge in this match? How high she thinks she can rise in this tournament? Duh, of course not, you want to know what man she’d date if she could date any man in the whole wide world. Because that’s so relevant to tennis!

That’s what British sports reporter Samantha Smith, herself a former tennis player who really ought to know better, asked Bouchard seconds after the match ended. A lot of people are pissed off about what Smith asked, and rightly so – it completely disregarded Bouchard’s abilities and achievements as a tennis player – but I want to focus on how she asked it. Check out this “I don’t mean it, the boys made me” sexism in action:

“You’re getting a lot of fans here. A lot of them are male, and they want to know: If you could date anyone in the world of sport, of movies – I’m sorry, they asked me to say this – who would you date?”

They asked me to say this. It’s not my fault. I’m just giving the guys, who have been ogling you as you’ve been slogging it out on the tennis court in the 30-something degree heat, what they want. Men, amirite? Always disrespecting lady athletes, and who am I to intervene and ask appropriate questions? It’s not like I’m a professional sports journalist or something.

In other words, Samantha Smith did know better, and she did it anyway.

Avatar ImageChloe Angyal cannot believe Smith asked that question in 2014.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/gratuitous/ gratuitous

    So, what did Bouchard answer? Did she mention me?

    Damn, it’s bad enough fighting this nonsense from the meatheads, but when a professional sports reporter has to be reminded how to do her job, I want to join Charlie Pierce in guzzling anti-freeze.

  • http://feministing.com/members/benjermann/ Benjamin Dom Choy

    Can’t believe I actually made an account for a website like this, but just had to clarify some stuff since you seem very ‘knowledgeable’ in the world of tennis. Many tennis players train their whole lives for one thing, and one thing only. Then, after completing their careers many go on to either form empires (Agassi) or become commentators/interviewers (McEnroe). They are asked to do a job. It is their job to ask the questions. In an interview with Nadal, a MALE reporter had to ask (and apologized for) what Nadal did with his left hand besides playing tennis. No article was written about it, no uproar on the internet. Now why does Smith or Eugenie deserve this backlash by women and by men?