P.T. Barnum allegedly said there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but he ran a circus, not women’s sports media. Here’s why some press is really bad press.
Okay. Maybe I’m a little biased, but as a woman in sports, I think it goes without saying that women face more scrutiny in the media than men.
Even good publicity frequently comes with negative criticisms and in extreme cases; death threats.
We have to fight so hard for our media spotlight, yet it is more often than not, the negative attention that is marketed the most successfully.
It’s a shame that women are recognized for the negative aspects of their careers more often than their accomplishments.
“…sportswriters from all corners of the media [need] to respect the athletes’ craft, analyze their play and offer sound commentary about the players and the league.”
It is not the athlete’s fault when the media offers its critiques, and in a lot of situations, it’s welcomed. The problem arises when these critiques stray away from what the athlete does on the field/court/etc. and entertains the media’s vicious need to sell a story.
There’s a point in the article where they discuss the UConn women’s basketball team, who hasn’t lost a single game since 2014. They’re chasing history this year in the Women’s March Madness Tournament (yes, there’s a women’s tournament too!)
In my opinion, even women’s college basketball draws better media attention than the WNBA. But you better believe that when there is something to be said for the WNBA, it is more often than not a degrading evaluation.
The under coverage of women’s sports at every level only opens the doors for journalists to report on the more scandalous moments in an athlete’s career.
The thing is, it’s not even entirely the journalist’s fault for the nature of their stories. They’re simply reporting based on what their audience wants to read.
Scandals sell; it’s as simple as that. Athlete’s that can’t seem to stay out of headlines are crucial to the media. But even athletes that tend to keep out of the news and allow their talents and accomplishments to speak for themselves, it is nearly impossible to escape the ever-hungry media.
I worry about how young girls witnessing the dismantling of their female role models, and how the negative media attention today will affect participation in youth sport in the future. Seeing as how there are more criticisms of women than compliments, why would young girls voluntarily expose themselves as bait to the media?