Female sports journalists shouldn’t have to wear burkas

When I Tweeted that I was reluctant to cheer for fellow Trojan Mark Sanchez and his New York Jets in tonight’s Monday Night Football because of the Ines Sainz scandal, a male colleague sent me this SMS to my mobile: Love to talk about Jet/female journalist thing. I think she sets u all back with inappropriate “work” attire. No excuses for boorish behavior. But you would never dress like she does and expect to be taken seriously. A lot of women like u paid dues and would not wear painted jeans to work.”

I wasn’t aware of how Sainz, a former beauty pageant contestant now on Mexico’s TV Azteca, dressed so went online and came across an array of photos of her wearing swimwear or less than that on magazine covers, as well as this photos she Tweeted of herself:

Well, maybe I would have worn painted jeans to work if I could find them to hug my lack of curves like Sainz’ fit her. But with a 36-inch inseam and no ass or hips, that was not an easy task. Instead, I rocked mini-skirts for a good deal of my sports writing days. During the four years I covered the Lakers, my standard work uniform was a mini-skirt, opaque tights, a turtleneck and blazer. Cognizant that my tiny skirts could raise eyebrows, I went to a few of the Laker wives and asked them if they thought my skirts were too short to wear around their husbands. They gave me the thumbs up and said, my legs are so long that it doesn’t matter what I wear, the men are going to look. With their blessing I continued rockin’ my mini skirts into my days covering the NFL.

I like to think I’m above average when it comes to beauty and sex appeal. Did I use it to my advantage when I covered sports? You betcha! The same way as I did my height and anything else short of sex in this competitive field. But I don’t care if I’m walking into a room with Rupert Everett, Liberace, Elton John, George Michael, Lance Bass, and Ricky Martin — I want to turn heads and feel sexy. I used to look at the female sportswriters who wore ties and oversize suits more suitable for men and wondered how come they tried to downplay their gender. I dressed like a lady and still managed to gain — and keep– the respect of coaches, players and team officials. There are limits. I would never wear a deep plunging blouse with a mini-skirt into a locker room but that’s not how I dress anyway unless I’m on vacation in a foreign land.

That being said, or written, I don’t think female sports journalists need to completely cover up when going to work.  Instead, professional athletes need to behave like their title indicates. Brushing off their juvenile behavior as “boys will be boys” is just as wrong as it to say Sainz deserved what she got because of the way she dresses. That’s like saying a rape victim got what she had coming because she wore a flimsy sundress in August. A female member of the sports media should be allowed to work in a hassle-free environment, regardless of what she wears to work (within reason of course). It was hot as Hades during NFL training camps but I could never dress as revealing as my male colleagues, who showed up to work in shorts and tank tops. They never hear catcalls and Sainz and the other female journalists should not either.

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3 Comments

Filed under Sports

3 responses to “Female sports journalists shouldn’t have to wear burkas

  1. Vanessa

    Hello Kelly,
    My name is Vanessa and I posted a comment on Maureen’s blog about Egypt. I posted a follow up, but she hasn’t posted it, so I thought I would respond here.
    I went to Egypt two years ago. I read up on the local customs, so I did wear a hijab and I dressed conservatively. I also avoided smiling or staring at men. I was with a man for three days and so there were mainly whispers and stares. But, when I was alone, the whispers became shouts and the stares became touches. It was very uncomfortable. But, I was alone and only was there for seven days. So, maybe if you make sure to have a male companion, things will be different. But, I don’t like being tied down to anyone when I am traveling.
    Hope this helps.

    • Hi Vanessa,
      Thanks for responding here. And what a response! I had no idea Egypt was so bad. A friend’s mother is there now with a group of women she travels with often and I’ll be looking forward to hearing her observations. However, it’s one thing to be on a tour, which I’ve never done and hope never to. LOL! I’m like you. I like to travel alone and meet locals with whom to hang out. I guess Egypt is not the place for me to do that. Thanks for sharing.
      Kelly

  2. Samira

    Hi Kelly,
    I went to Egypt this Summer as well as Jordan and Syria. I love these countries and as a woman have never ever been mistreated or even looked at too much. All I have ever experienced is kindness and the utmost respect. I think what happened to Vanessa, is because she actually wore a hijab… this may give the impression that she is a muslim… and is then expected to act in the appropriate way for a follower of Islam. Western tourists are not expected and don’t usually wear a hijab unless absolutely necessary like in Iran or Saudi Arabia.
    The only times you will ever need to wear a hijab in Egypt is when entering a mosque.
    Egypt is far far far from conservative. It’s swarming with tourists, especially Russians who show far too much for any Muslim country. As long as you dress appropriately -wearing loose fitting clothing and covering at least up to your knees you’ll feel safe and be respected.
    Sam

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