A man’s world

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Sports journalism: you might as well call it the He-Man Woman Haters’ Club.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m a girl trying to make it in a man’s world. I want to talk about hockey for the rest of my life. But to do this, I have to “earn my way” into a gentlemen’s club.

Sports journalists are mostly men, with the exception of a few females known mostly to the men of the industry as “bombshells.” In order for these “bombshells” to gain any sort of respect or any smidgen of credibility, they have to work their ass off and deal with a lot of sexist crap along the way.

I know from experience.

I highly doubt that, when a male reporter goes to cover his first NHL game, he gets flashed by an entire team and then has one of the players message him on Facebook later that week saying “Hey :).”

I also highly doubt that, if that male reporter is tall and skinny, the other reporters assume that he would rather cover volleyball than hockey and call him “honey” and “sweetie.”

Maybe it’s common for men, too, that every time someone asks them what they want to do when they “grow up” and they say they want to cover hockey, the person asking laughs and asks, “No seriously, what do you want to do?” But I doubt it. And I doubt they get as many questionable looks and eye rolls as I do.

Whenever I walk up to a player to do an interview, or when I am in the middle of a scrum, there is a sceptical energy projected toward me. It’s as if everyone assumes that I know nothing about sports. People automatically assume that the opportunities I have been given are because of my looks. I would love to show those people the countless hours of work that I am putting in to get where I am going, but I can’t.

When I talk to people about being a sports journalist, I’m told to think of myself in terms of being the next Erin Andrews or Sara Orlesky. But when people make these comparisons, they are saying it because I am a pretty face to have on the sidelines, not because of my sports knowledge. Just once, I would like to be told to try to be the next Bob McKenzie, or Jay Onrait, although I won’t be holding my breath on that last one. (Thank God no one has told me that I am headed toward being the next Pierre McGuire. I might as well switch careers now.)

The overwhelming assumption that I will be hired for my looks and not for my knowledge is, to say the very least, annoying. I wish it was the other way around. I want to be the girl that knows her stuff first and foremost. If someone thinks that I am good looking, so be it, but I shouldn’t have to bank on that to secure myself a spot in the industry, and so I won’t. No matter what anyone thinks.

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

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