This video is part of the #CoverTheAthlete campaign which aims to highlight and change the biased questioning, commentary, and media coverage of female athletes, which tends to trivialize their accomplishments and focus on their looks. The video features male athletes responding negatively to being asked the same kinds of sexist interview questions that female athletes frequently face, such as questions about appearance, hair styles, weight gain, dating and love life, and being asked to show off their outfit. The video states “Male sports coverage would never sound like this. How come female coverage does?,” and ends with a clip of 20 year-old Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard at the 2015 Australian Open, where a male reporter, Ian Cohen, said, “Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?” The video ends with the words, “Ask the media to #CoverTheAthlete.”
How does this video address the differences in how female and male athletes are interviewed, commented about, and reported on in the media? Do you think it’s effective? Why or why not?
How do the kinds of questions, comments, and articles written about female athletes reflect systemic and institutionalized beliefs that women should be valued more for their looks? Can you think of other arenas in which this is also true (such as in Hollywood or politics)?
What kinds of questions are male athletes asked when being interviewed, and how do these questions differ from what they were shown being asked in the video? What would happen if female athletes responded like some of the male athletes responded?
Who plays professional sports? Who do we watch playing professional sports? Why are men’s sports teams, such as American national football (NFL), basketball (NBA), and baseball (MLB) games televised, celebrated, and reported on, whereas women’s are not? Can women play on those teams? Why?
How are men rewarded, paid, and treated for playing professional sports? How does that differ from how women are paid and treated for playing professional sports? Are some sports associated more with a particular gender than others? What does that mean for people who don’t fit those associations?