Sports Man or Sports Personality ….

there Is a difference, honest!

I am sure I am not the only woman who was not only disappointed but mystified by not one single female making it onto the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Are you seriously asking me to believe that across every sports discipline on the planet not one woman is seen to have a personality worthy of mention?

Am I naive for expecting more from a national institution like the beeb? One that is supposed to cater for the whole population, well it certainly expects my license fee.

Apart from a little ranting from some famous, past winners like Dame Kelly Holmes and a flurry of tweets this announcement disappeared into the ether with very little opposition. I tuned into a news item where the presenter interviewing one of the finalists, Dai Green, asked his view on the absence of women. Mr Green tried desperately to be politically correct as he bumbled his way through a justification and then the presenter went on to say ‘well we can’t win really can we cos if we put a woman on the list who would we take off and then we would just be accused of tokenism anyway.’ Give me strength!!

Chrissie Wellington the 4 times world champion of the IronMan triathlon has been cited by many people in the know as a serious omission but this same presenter commented that no one would know who she was if she went on the list anyway. Really? Well forgive me but I am pretty sure not everyone has heard of all 10 male finalists neither and is this a personality or popularity contest?

Everyone seems to be focussing on the individual’s sporting achievements as opposed to their personality? Touché!

It would appear that this shortlist is created by 27 sports editors – now I wonder….. how many women on THAT list?

What messages does this farce project to young girls? Women are no good at sport? Sport is not a place for women? Women do not shine here? It has been a bad year for women in sport? They have no personality? No matter how good you are you will not get recognition anyway?

I would like to think we will all show our distaste for this whole affair by NOT tuning in to the programme on 22 December, I for one will be giving it a wide berth. As far as I am concerned this year the programme should be renamed Sports Man of the Year and be done with it.

Breathe Jane, breathe!

2 Comments on Sports Man or Sports Personality ….

  1. I have to say I agree Jane but the problem is deeper.

    I am a keen on most sports and will watch most televised sports events, from football to tennis, golf to swimming. The problem lies with the coverage on TV and in the media of women in sport. We have wall to wall football, rugby, formula 1 (though that can’t even be called a sport in my opinion) and even darts and snooker – all male dominated.

    We see women playing tennis, but only really during Wimbledon. We see women athletes, but only really during major championships. We see equestrianism, cycling, swimming and badminton, but only really during the olympics. That is to say we see events at which our women excel only during major mixed events and, I hazard to suggest, they still get less air-time than their male counterparts.

    Until we get decent exposure of women in sport, and I don’t mean beach volleyball or Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that women footballers should wear shorter shorts, the general public, and the men on the selection panel of SPOTY will simply be unaware of female athletes.

    And if I can add a non-gender point; it cannot really be sports ‘personality’ as it has been won by, amongst others, Nigel Mansell, Steve Davis, Nick Faldo, Damon Hill (twice), Michael Owen and David Beckham – great sportsman all but each having had a total or partial personality by-pass.

  2. Jan, Karen – thanks for thi: I couldn’t agree more. Karen, you took the words out of my mouth (but added in more and better examples!). I was going to cite David Beckham as an example of someone who I think has the personality of a door frame. Your other examples just emphasise this and Jane’s highlights of the shocking, whining discussions of media presenters is just irritating “Oh, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t…. ergo let’s just not”. The tired mantra of faux equality. Karen, you’re right, this is all part of the insidious lack of taking women seriously that is just taking too long to change. Yes, Wimbledon gets coverage, but if I hear ONE MORE comedian on Mock The Week (which I love) or Live At the Apollo going down the route of “doesn’t it sound like an orgasm when they hit the ball” nad “I only want tickets for the beach volleyball. Is that a sport – who cares as long as etc etc ” I think I’ll …. what? What will I do? Stop watching? I wouldn’t watch, read or listen to anything if I boycotted mainstream media every time it was tediously, infuriatingly sexist. I am SO FED up with this continuous over-sexualisation of women and what worries me even more is the heap of rubbish (TOWIE, Scousewives, X Factor etc) where WOMEN ARE COMPLICIT. Stop it, women, just stop it. How on earth are we going to make any of this better if you carry on like that? There’s a subtle but still direct link between condoning’glamour’ modelling and getting more women on Boards and if we’re not honest about that, we’ve got an even longer road ahead. And no, I’m not having a sense of humour failure. It’s a reality. The Sports Personality bypass of women is just yet another example of how our culture and society continues to pigeon hole women into the context of how men see and rate us. Lots of men are great, but so are lots of women – it’s a shame the BBC couldn’t seem to alight on just ONE here even to pretend they might agree with that.

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