News broke yesterday of Sunderland football manager, David Moyes, threatening to slap Vicki Sparks, a BBC journalist, for asking a question he didn’t like at a press conference. It was news of yet another account of the sexism, belittling and disrespect suffered by intelligent, talented professions who just also happen to be female.
Female journalists are professionals, skilled professionals that have worked insanely hard to get the opportunities they’re now working. Anyone in the media industry will backup how much work it takes to advance in the business, fighting against everyone else and simply trying to be the right person at the right time.
And obviously, it’s difficult for men too. But women are too often subject to further boundaries, being expected to look the part, you know, the classic weather girl look. And even when we break the industry, we have to hold power in so so many male dominated situations, but be too bold or too out-going, it’s basically a guarantee that a trash man will slam you.
We’ve seen the story too often. A woman asks the bold question everyone’s been thinking, hits a nerve, challenges their interviewee and that’s the trigger. They’re called ugly, subject to a personal attack about their private life, their appearance, their sexuality, even their race. It’s a well-known narrative by now. And yeah the video might go viral for a day or two, but the issue is still here that female journalists don’t get the respect they deserve.
The Moyles/Sparks case is only the latest. The American election gave us far too many elections; Sean Spicer berating April Ryan, a veteran White House Correspondent, out of defence and panic, Bill O’Reilly mocking congresswoman and WOC Maxine Water’s hair etc etc. Need I even mention Trump’s numerous memorable offenses; singling out female reporters at rallies, making many many offensive, unprofessional remarks about appearance, and the classic case of Megyn Kelly having ‘blood coming out of where ever’.
And it’s not even snap remarks we have to deal with, male professionals having no intelligent response to tricky questions beyond an insult. Flirting is just as gross. Since when has flirting ever been acceptable in professional situations? Making sexual remarks? Referring to female journalists, peers, professionals, as ‘baby’? Oh yeah, never.
Who can forget that video of sports star Chris Gayle flirting with Mel Mclaughlin, who looked the expected mix of mortified and furious when she’s asked on a date on live tv. I remember when I saw that I felt for her so hard. The thought of all the work she’d put in, how excited she must have been to have had the opportunity to conduct a prime-time, post-match interview. That might have been her dream, she probably prepared for hours only to be belittled and treated with no respect. Props to her for carrying on rather than going off on one. She stayed professional, he did not.
Remember that The Last Shadow Puppets interview? The one where indie’s favourite ‘slick’ bad boys Alex Turner and Miles Kane spent the whole interview making inappropriate comments and propositioning Rachel Brodsky. Imagine getting that opportunity to interview such a famous duo in the build-up to their return, only to be asked ‘do you wanna go upstairs?’ But I guess that’s okay because objectifying women doing their jobs is all part of their bad boy act. Grim.
It goes on too often, and it’s gone on for too long. It’s nothing but blatant sexism. Immaturity on the part of men that can’t treat woman with the same professionally that they’re given. Just because we’re not working in an office environment, and we’ve come to interview you doesn’t make us any less professional, our abilities any less significant. It doesn’t make us an inferior, it shouldn’t make us subject to mocking and insulting that wouldn’t fly in literally any other professional circumstance. And quite honestly, we’re in control of the exposure you get. Disrespect us, and we will drag you.