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Women’s sports coverage encounters subtle sexism: Study

It has been found that 95 percent of anchors, co-anchors and analysts, analysing the sports coverage were male

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Women's sports and the surrounding sexism
Women's sports. Pixabay
  • A subtler sexism frames the TV broadcasts of women in sports, according to a recent study
  • L.A.-based network affiliates devote only 3.2 percent of airtime to women’s sports on news broadcasts
  • The researchers have been constant in updating their findings roughly every five years

Washington D.C. [USA], Sep 19, 2017: A recent study stated that a subtler sexism has now made it to the Newsrooms framing the TV broadcast of women in sports.

The ongoing, decades-long study by the University of Southern California researchers suggests, that even if the mainstream broadcast coverage now treats the sports played by women a little more seriously, a major part of it, mostly respectful coverage still has to face the relegation to the sideline.

Only 3.2 percent of airtime, according to the research team, was devoted to women’s sports on news broadcasts, by the L.A.-based network affiliates, witnessing a degradation of 5 percent from 1989, which was the first year of the study. ESPN’s SportsCenter, on the other hand, only stands worse, devoting 2 percent of the airtime to women’s sports, same as it was in 1999 when the study began tracking the show.

“When compared to the start of the study, women used to be framed in ways that were overtly sexist. Now the sexism is subtler,” said lead author Michela Musto. “It seems at first that it’s respectful, but if you compare the framing with men’s sports, women are talked about in a much more boring way. There is no joking or complimenting. Those kinds of descriptors are missing from women’s sports.”

The researchers have been constant in updating their findings roughly every five years, in 1993, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014, to be exact. It has been planned to start the research later this year, for it to be updated in 2018.

The researchers, in a manner similar to the previous cycles of the study, analyzed three two-week segments of TV sports news coverage on three Los Angeles network affiliates, and on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The coverage was then coded across 20 distinct categories, which included gender, segment length, type of sport, competitive level of sport, and production value.

Much of the disparity may owe to the little airtime devoted to each individual woman’s story on SportsCenter. Sports stories revolving around women averaged 77 seconds, approximately 50 percent shorter than men’s stories, however, better than the 44 seconds allotted to them on local affiliates.

The overall respectful coverage may be the advancement from the time when Morganna the Kissing Bandit was one of the few women featured on the local sports report. But the refined tone of this coverage carried a brand of chauvinism, of it own. The researchers gave it the name “gender bland”, a programming that confronts the treatment of a mandatory “set aside.”

In “gender-bland” programming, the athletic achievements of women are depicted as “lackluster” and “uninspired.” That is, unless they approve to the image of caring teammates or partners and spouses, for instance, the 2016 Olympic trap-shooter medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein’s portrayal in mainstream media as “the wife of a Chicago Bears linebacker.”

Also readWhere Girls and Women are missing out in Sports? Or is it simple Gender Discrimination

A surge of female athletes since the 1970s, when Title IX, which prohibited discrimination based on gender in education for athletics became a law, makes the sparse coverage of women’s sports out of step, the researchers noted.

Around 3.1 million girls participate in high school sports today, compared to 4.4 million boys; in a stark contrast to the situation 45 years ago, when only 294,000 girls played sports in high school, and less than 39,000 played in college.

There are but few women in sports media industry that may play a role in influencing the coverage decisions, noted the researchers. It has been found that 95 percent of anchors, co-anchors and analysts analysing the sports coverage were male. The data shows resemblance to the other findings stating that 90.1 percent of sports print editors happen to be male.

If a woman in the sports broadcast industry happens to scale heights, as the case of Samantha Ponder, a sideline reporter who replaced Chris Berman as host of ESPN’s featured NFL program, Sunday NFL Countdown, this August, it still makes big news.

“I do believe that part of the move toward greater respect and equity for women’s sports in the media will involve getting more women into newspaper sports desks, radio and TV commentary,” said senior author Michael Messner.

“However, I also think that employers, when they hire new people, should seek to hire reporters and commentators — women or men — who really care about women’s sports, who can and will express genuine enthusiasm, rather than gender-bland sexism, when they report on women’s sports,” he added.

The study has been published in the journal Gender & Society.

prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Sexism is Real and Men Face it too!

While women tend to pay heed to such remarks, sexism directed towards men goes largely unnoticed. Read on to know if you have been making sexist remarks towards your male counterparts

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Sexism is unbridled in the Indian society and (finally) being talked about. Pixabay

New Delhi, September 9, 2017 : Society has a huge role to play in the person that we become. And sometimes, that may not be the right way to go about it.

More often than not, society forces us to be somebody we are not. A woman belongs in the kitchen, a man is not supposed to cry; who established these ground rules to function in the society?

Sexism is real, and men face it too (surprise!)

“Man up!”

“Don’t be such a girl!”

Men are always expected to display vigor and anger; their insecurities are rarely taken into account and would rather be pushed under a rug that the society largely identifies as ‘masculinity’.

We keep reminding men that they should not wear pink, that they cannot cry, and that they are only supposed to express their emotions in a certain way. We tell them to ‘not be such a girl’, to shake off their fears and ‘man up’ and to always take charge. And this never stops.

But what we are forgetting here is that men have emotions too; even when the society does not allow them to emote explicitly.

These expressions and understanding are so entrenched in daily communiqué that sometimes we fail to realize when we are making a sexist remark.

Yes, sexism is unbridled in the Indian society and (thankfully) being talked about.

While women tend to pay heed to such remarks, sexism directed towards men goes largely unnoticed.

Here are a few subtle hints to how sexism has become a part of everyday life for men,

sexism
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey 2016, 38 % victims of sexual violence were men.

Men are often faced with questions like “why didn’t you fight her?”, and made jokes on how they must have enjoyed it because why wouldn’t anybody enjoy a sexual encounter that essentially has ‘no strong attached’.

People in the 21st century fail to realize the real, societal damage that women who sexually assault men, cause to the society.

 

 

sexism
The society largely looks down upon the men who earn less than their ‘weaker’ counterparts.

The man is supposed to be the ‘provider’ of the family, earning most of the money. For many men, it feels like a hard slap when women earn more money.

Because if they aren’t earning a living for their family, how can they be a “true” man?

 

 

sexism
The society places unnecessary expectations on boys from a young age. Boys can only be ‘strong’, and ‘big’. Why cant they be sensitive and soft?

Sexism places men and women in stereotypical roles- women are ‘naturally’ kind, compassionate and sensitive, while the men are ‘naturally’ more rational, and stronger, physically and mentally.

 

 

Sexism
There is no denying that girls are body shamed,;but assuming that they are ‘weak’ and hence not self-sufficient is taking that to the next level.

People say this to boys all the time and must be immediately stopped because it increasingly encourages the mindset that girls are inherently weak.

Even when the tone of such sexist comments is compassionate- sometimes even flattering, they are indicative of a stereo-typically narrow and insulting worldview.

 

 

Sexism
Not only is it unnatural to discourage men from undertaking work that they are passionate about, it is also dangerous.

Despite the cliche that art is a universal language, artists are interpreted very differently in terms of their gender. The unease and suspicion that accompany a male artist, irrespective of what art form he practices, are often based out of society’s view of the body and a larger understanding of ‘masculinity’.

 

 

Sexism
Suggesting that boys and girls should be held to different behaviors is dowright demeaning, not to ignore dangerous.

The dominant idea about what a ‘real’ man should be include behaviors such as dominance, control, assertiveness, and emotional unresponsiveness. The society continues to think that men ‘do not do work’, but instead they ‘get work done’ by their weaker counterparts-the women.

While circumstances continue to evolve for the better, in the larger society, there still is a special place in the society  for men who get angry- they are looked upon with reverence. No one points out their anger issues, or frowns upon them. It seems like arrogance and aggression are the only two emotions that men can acceptably show; that these are the only emotions that a man today is capable of showing.

We need to understand that men no longer have to ‘man up’. Instead, let them be a little more human


 

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Equal Yet Divided? Feminists Maintain Silence Over Muslim Woman’s Choice to Not Wear Hijab: What’s Wrong With Present Day Feminists

The Western activist-feminists today are undoubtedly absorbed in struggles to liberate themselves from the grasp of the oppressive male hegemony

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Western feminists continue to defend a woman’s right to wear the hijab. Then why is little talked about girls who ‘choose’ to not wear it? Pixabay
  • Despite an active feminist movement, women in Islamic countries continue to remain outside areas of attention
  • Outrage emerged following Muslim chess player’s decision to not wear a hijab during a game, an issue that is yet to come under the radar of the Western feminists

August 22, 2017 : Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know the magnanimity of the worldwide feminist movement in support of women’s rights to be treated as equals irrespective of their nationality, religion or sexual orientation.

Upon comparison to the mainstream Western feminism, mentions of Islamic feminism do not occupy evident, or for what matter, visible part of conversations.

  • In 2014, artist Atena Farghadani was sentenced to an imprisonment of 12 years for posting a satirical caricature on Facebook as a protest against the proposed legislation against women’s rights and birth control. She was held guilty for ‘spreading propaganda’.
  • In 2015, 26-year old Iranian-British Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested in Tehran for trying to attend a men’s volleyball match.
  • In 2014, Loujain al-Hathloul, a human rights defender in Saudi Arabia was first arrested for driving cars in a kingdom where it is forbidden. She was more recently re-arrested in June 2017, the exact reason for which has not been made public. However, Amnesty International believes the arrest has been made to curb her peaceful efforts to defend women’s rights.

Today, Farghadani, Ghavami and Loujain al-Hathloul have been reduced to mere names on a list of millions of women whose basic rights have been mercilessly desecrated.

But American feminists are yet to speak up about these injustices- they continue to be too occupied with their own victimization to raise voice against the injustices meted out to women like Farghadani.

The Western activist-feminists today are undoubtedly absorbed in struggles to liberate themselves from the grasp of the oppressive male hegemony. However, in their fights against phantom epidemics and unnecessary grievances, the gender activists today have deviated from the real fight against inequality.

ALSO READ Exclusive: 12 Sexist Remarks that Every Woman can relate to!

In the last two years, Western feminists have often turned to social networking platforms to raise issues, draw attention and mobilize support. While the increasingly global reach of  online networking sites like Twitter, and Facebook, and the inherent power of ‘hashtag activism’ can largely assist women find solidarity , the latest trend has been a far cry from the real cause.

In the last two years, some of the widely used hashtags were #FreeTheNipples, #LesPrincessesOntDesPoils or #PrincessesHaveHair and #BigUndiesOutForSam.

The former was a campaign to de-sexualize women’s breasts and the next promotes acceptance of body-hair on women. The third campaign drew support from women in favor of comfortable under-garments for women. Imagine, if the imprisoned Muslim women of Iran and Afghanistan, who lack political rights and are vulnerable to physical violence because of their faith, were to tweet, what would they say about these struggles? Will these be the issues they would raise, I doubt.

The World Economic Forum asserts an inverse relationship between women rights and states with Islam as dominant religion.

The Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016 placed Islam as the dominant religion in the lowest ranking 44 states for women rights and equality (that means states un-supportive of womens’ rights). Evidently, in states that the report claims most supportive of women rights, the density of Islam followers is very low.

It will be wrong to say that because women in Islamic countries suffer at the hands of misogyny, the Western women should compromise with less serious prejudices. However, what needs to be highlighted is why feminist actions continue to be restricted to physical borders.  Women in different corners of the world today have one thing in common – their fight for basic rights as upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why then are the so-called liberal women’s rights activists only raising issues of one section of people and not for all?

In the Western liberal societies, the hijab has very recently emerged as a symbol of resistance to Islamophobia, against policies from President Trump’s administration aiming to establish divisions between ‘them’ and ‘us’.  Western feminists have, since long, defended a woman’s right to wear the hijab. However, very little is talked about girls who ‘choose’ to not don the veil.

ALSO READ:  Being feminine: How far are we from understanding feminism in its real form

In January, Dorsa Derakhshani, an 18-year old Iranian chess grandmaster refused to wear a hijab at a tournament in Gibraltar and instead chose to wear only a headband. Her decision to defy the Iranian law which calls upon all women to wear a headscarf in public drew massive flack from staunch radical Muslims, following which she was kicked out of the national team.

The Somali born Ex-politician and feminist critic, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who herself wore the burqa as a teenager, strongly believes that the debate over the controversial head covering is no more about religious or cultural practices but about the equality of women. “Expecting half of humanity to go around covered in black sacks is just evil sexism,” she had written for a report published in The Australian.

The author has repeatedly expressed her concern over the apathetic stance of western feminists in support of liberal Muslim women for which she has been increasingly labeled as ‘Islamophobic’.

However, what needs to be understood here is that raising questions on cultural practices in Islam does not make one Islamophobic.

American philosopher, Martha Craven Nussbaum had rightly pointed out that the feminist theory heeds diminutive consideration to struggles of women outside United States. While this may come across as demeaning to some, that does seem like the present day state of affairs.

The need of the hour is to shatter the dominant opinion which holds that Islam and feminism are not consistent and that one can either be a Muslim or associated with feminism but not both. This, however, can only stem from a larger understanding that human rights- including rights of women, are meant for all and not just a few and definitely must not be restricted by religion.


 

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
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Muslim Women are not Doormats: The Shocking Truth about the ‘Nikah Halala’

Though many Islamic countries have long banned it, in India, this practice still continues

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Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala
Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala

– by Salil Gewali

  • Many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala but in India, the practice is still done
  • This is a criminal offense committed in the name of religion
  • More vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against Nikah Halala

Shillong (India), August 21, 2017: The most shocking fact about the ‘Nikah Halala’ has recently been brought to light by the India Today media. This media certainly deserves a pat on its back for broadcasting to the world the “darkness of lust” that invariably frightens away the very spirit of womanhood. How on earth such practices which openly dehumanize the woman are sanctioned by law is difficult to fathom. She is sexually exploited by an unknown person for over a night. Is it not outrageous?

Though many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala, in India, this practice often forces the desperate women, who want to regain the warmth of the past husband, to depend on the cleric scholars around. Such lecherous people put up themselves for the job. Is it not humiliating fact that apart from spending one night with a complete stranger, the divorced Muslim women are required to cough up anywhere between Rs. 20000/- to Rs. 150000/-.

This shocking Nikah Halala or one-night-marriage makes only a divorced Muslim women eligible to further seek the formal reconciliation (marry) with the first husband. Is not the sex without “love” itself spiritually a big sin? Alas, this retrogressive and godless practice is still prevalent in the 21st century while the roar of the triple talaq is still getting shriller!

 

More vocal Malalas should take birth
More vocal Malalas should take birth

Though no strong scream of protest against this bizarre practice is heard, a few conscious Muslim men and Muslim women are up in arms, also some Muslim Maulvi’s. Maulana Maqsood-ul-Hasan Qasmi, the head of the Imam Council of India, retorts – ‘This is lust. It’s not permissible in “Islam”. This is a “criminal offense” committed in the name of religion’.  One friend of mine Mr. Shafiq Alam bursts out in deep anguish “As a father of three daughters I know how such anti-female practices have brought “grief” to millions of households. Much of the texts of the Holy Quran have been either misread or deliberately distorted and misinterpreted by the vested interests which they use to justify any inhuman activities”. Indeed, most of the “explosive activities” that have often been rocking and shocking the world have their roots in the “wrong interpretation” of the holy texts.

Muslim women suffering
Muslim women suffering

There is nothing secret how disgustingly countless females across the globe suffer under the veil of chastity which only contributes to stifling their “vigor” of individuality, feminine potentiality, and creativity. I guess, more vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against ‘Nikah Halala’, gender discrimination and irreligious prejudices strangling the holy Islam. Oh Allah the Almighty, save us all from the evil mongers!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
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