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Aug 26

SEXISM? YOU BE THE JUDGE

I’m going to get right to the point here.  I got pretty pissed off about how hard I was dissed by a local paper after winning my hometown triathlon.  Now, when I say local paper, I mean local. I won’t name names (The Sports Department) ok, I guess I will, basically reports on all the sports happenings of regional elementary and high school teams and additionally covers some local races as well.  I have no clue how big the readership or distribution is but I do know that this reader was excited to see this on the sidebar of the front page:

photo-34

It’s actually on page 16 by the way…

I think my exact words were “Holy shit! They covered the race!”  because, to the best of my knowledge, this hadn’t happened in years past.  Now Dave, the man on the cover photo, won the race overall and actually lives in my neighborhood.  I don’t know him or his wife very well but we’re friendly when we see one another.

So, I hurry into the house to read the article and this is what I read:

photo-33

…the highlight for me was “He also beat out the top female finisher Allie Burdick, who posted a time of 1:06:30.”  I’m sorry…am I competing against the men?  How exactly did he beat me out?  I know I have short hair and muscles but I’m a woman and I compete against other women and I WON the race…for the women!

The rest of the article is more about Dave and then the race organizers.  Where was my interview?  Not even one question for me? WTF?  My first reaction was obviously anger to which my husband responded: “Calm down.  I’m sure the guy writing the article doesn’t know or doesn’t get it that women are in a separate category.”  Seriously?  The fucking sports editor for the local sports paper doesn’t know this? I then of course texted a girlfriend to get a female perspective.  Was I being juvenile?  Was I overreacting?  Was Sheryl Sandberg getting to me?  My friend confirmed that in fact HELL NO I wasn’t overreacting and that she wants her daughter to grow up in a world where women are recognized as equally as men.  Ok, so now I’m justified.  The next thing to do was email the Publisher of the paper. ..which I did… and then thought about not doing… and then I hit *send*!  He called me within two hours.

His explanation was that he wasn’t able to talk directly with the guy who wrote it and perhaps that wasn’t the best way to include me in the article but the author really wanted to include my name.  Oh thank you so very much for including my name in the article about the race that I fucking WON!  Really?  He went on to say that he was sure there was no ill intent and they did not mean to slight me and perhaps the author just couldn’t find me after the race.  Try again.  It’s a race of approximately 250 people held on the beach of a lake that is roughly the size of a basketball court ,and I was there until the bitter end, savoring my victory.  Ok, maybe not but I was definitely one of the last people there and took a photo with the male winner (Dave) and the race director.  Got anything else?

Look, like I said to the publisher, I’m not trying to be a bitch.  I’m not naive.  I know James Brown told me this is a man’s world and after living in it for 38 years, I get it!  I know that elite female athletes don’t get paid as much as their male counterparts and women’s basketball doesn’t fill stadiums like the NBA.  I’m certainly not comparing my little triathlon to any kind of elite competition but for me, it’s a culmination of moths of scheduling training around family life.  I work my ass off to compete in these races.  Unlike Dave, I didn’t “expect to win” but when I do win, I expect to be recognized in an article about the race.

If I’m being truly honest, I’m over it because it happened a week ago, but I’m curious to hear your take on it.  Please don’t hold back and just tell me what you really think.  Unlike Lt. Daniel Kaffee, I can handle the truth!

 

Ok, let me hear it…

78 comments

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  1. Tammy Killough

    Good Grief! First…let me say, Congratulations!!! I’m impressed! Secondly, I’m so sorry. It’s ridiculous that in this day and age that this is still happening. What the heck? Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Good luck with this battle! 😀 I’m not sure it will ever be better! Keep trucking though…you know in your heart you ROCK….and YES…You are totally in the right!

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much!! I’m not sure it will ever get better either but that’s why I had to write this. Thank you for supporting me. I definitely appreciate you coming by and weighing in!

  2. Denise Pantason

    Allie- I saw this article about a week ago and thought it was ridiculous. When I read how he “mentioned” the first male beat you- a female- I couldn’t believe!!! I was hoping you didn’t see it because I knew you would be furious. Just remember- media people are clueless about running events and Tri’s.

    1. vita88

      Thanks for trying to protect me Denise! I know you definitely get it & I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of this kind of crap in your running career!!

  3. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Yes, lets start with CONGRATS because YOU WERE THE TOP FEMALE FINISHER PERIOD! second. I’d be just as mad ready to hurt someone as you are. It is the SILLIEST thing ever to compare and say that he beat you out. UGH I am LIVID for you! Are you kidding?! Your triathlon is not little, by ANY MEANS! YOU ROCK sister, that news reporter needs to take several seats.

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Nellie!! I love what you said about him needing to “take several seats!” Agreed!!!

  4. Nancy

    It is infuriating when you put in so much more focused effort, and the spin in the article was that you were “beat out” by someone. Poor journalism at best. Anyone who knows sports should know to report both male AND female top finishers, because, even though I don’t like it, it is the male who finishes first. Nuff said…ignorance sucks!

    1. vita88

      So true Nancy!! And, I “beat out” MOST of the men and came in 8th overall. I know you understand, so thank you!!

  5. Jenn V.

    This makes me very upset as well. Not only for the blatant disregard for another Ellington WINNER (who just happens to be a female!) but also and especially for the message that this type of coverage sends to all of the young local female reader/athletes about the value of their hard work in sports in Ellington (and anywhere, really).

    1. vita88

      So true!! Even for my boys when I told them “mommy won the race” and then they read this!? Very frustrating.

  6. Mrs. Pancakes

    Congrats on your win. And it’s sad for me to say but i am not surprising sexism exists even at the local sports coverage in the media. it’s so wrong and completely diminishes your accomplishment in it’s own right. i wonder if they would be willing to write the article again if they read your blog posts. i am glad you are speaking out.

    1. vita88

      It’s difficult because its not really who I am to want recognition in the first place so I feel I’ve already gone beyond my comfort zone just by talking to the publisher. I will, however, send them a copy of my post & perhaps with some comments from my local neighbors and friends. To be continued…:-)

  7. thedoseofreality

    First of all, BRAVO to you for winning!! Secondly, I love the way you handled this. You rock Allie! :)-Ashley

    1. vita88

      Thank you very much! This means a lot!!

  8. Kim

    WooHoo – congratulations big time on your win!!!
    You have every right to be pissed – they should have given you equal coverage or written a completely separate article (complete with picture) of you as the female winner!!!
    Frustrating for sure – sorry that happened to you and took away a little bit of the thrill of the experience!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kim!! Luckily the article didn’t come out for a while after the race so it wasn’t as impactful…but still!! And YES I want my picture in there too!!

  9. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    Congratulations on your accomplishment Allie! My opinion is…if there was an article printed, then you deserve the credit that was due being that you won the women’s race PERIOD!!!! That was complete B.S. and if buddy writing the article doesn’t know the difference in races/sports/fitness/etc, he needs to find a new niche!!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Joi! I 100% agree about the writer and he’s no novice to sports, just ignorant to women in sports apparently.

  10. Tamara

    I almost need to write in all caps to express my anger. I don’t know if it’s sexism or just stupidity and laziness. Or all of the above or something. I’m a journalism major and I’m a journalist at heart. You do not mess up your words and you do not miss part of the story. What a buffoon. I’m glad you called and I’m glad you wrote this.
    And a big congratulations! I hope you’re still savoring your victory!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Tamara! I have a degree in communications and I was just arguing the point of doing your research!! Somehow “not knowing” that men and women aren’t competing against each other is a cop out. Any journalist worth his salt, knows his topic. I am definitely savoring my victory!

  11. misszippy

    I’m with you! Seriously, in 2014, get it right, people. You’re not competing with the boys and you deserve the same attention that the male winner got. I’d be mad, too!

    On a side note–a huge congrats for the win!!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks for the “huge congrats” and, yes it’s 2013 and still it goes on…and on…and on…

  12. Shannon

    First of all, you ROCK! You came in FIRST! AWESOME! Don’t get me started on the inequity in the wide world of sports, or the locally confused world of sports. Women are ATHLETES. Women are FAST. Women are STRONG. Women are DETERMINED. Women are CAPABLE. Most of all, women are a draw for other women, who are interested in sports as well and will pay to watch and compete right alongside of the men. The only thing this article shows us, is that a local ‘news-reporter’ is truly not that at all, otherwise he would have gathered ALL the facts and written a non-biased article with a headline more like, ‘Amazing local athletes, David and Allie shine in outstanding finishes’. Good for you for speaking your mind, all of us should do the same!

    1. vita88

      Wow! I should’ve gotten YOU to write this for me. Well said and well done my friend! This is why you’re my best friend. Really, you said it ALL…and when do you want to do a guest post about equality?

  13. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    I think the paper handled this really poorly. I mean, even if they were not going to cover you, which is bad enough, they really could have worded it much better. You just have to be a human on this planet to know that women don’t race against men. Furthermore, they made you sound like you didn’t win. Totally unacceptable and blatant sexism. These guys should be forced to go to sensitivity training and then sit in a room of female bloggers to hear about all our accomplishments and training and what not. Not cool!

    1. vita88

      I like the way you think Brit! I really like your idea of sitting them down and putting them through a female blogging boot camp!

  14. Bob Ludwig

    Allie I thought the same thing when I read that article.as a former racer I understand how you feel. We don’t work for the recognition but it’s nice to receive it. Especially when a whole article is given to one competitor. When I was a race promoter(mountain bike races) I made sure my female competitors received the same prize money as the male racers. I know you put in a lot of years of hard work and training. I would like my daughter who is an up-and-coming racer to see that.I’d like for her to have role models like yourself. she does get the efforts equal results message from both of her parents.but it would be nice for her to be able to open a paper and see women getting the for their efforts also.

    1. vita88

      Thanks Bob! You make some excellent points. I’m not surprised to know that you made *your* racing effort and prizing equal. You could definitely teach these guys a lesson or two in class. As for your daughter, my hope is that her generation is going to educate and change things, and with parents like you and your wife, she has all the tools she needs. Thanks again!

  15. Kate

    I feel like I would rather not be included at all than be included in that way. You are right.

    And on another note, the male winner seems like a jerk. “I expected to win.” “I just started running 4 weeks ago.” Okay…. way to be an egomaniac. I’m sure it makes people who trained really hard for more than a month feel great. Idiot.

    1. vita88

      I know. I didn’t want to “go there” since this guy is my neighbor and all but, really? He basically said “I can’t swim, I just started running but I’m an amazing cyclist so I expected to beat all of you.” Wow. I think you nailed it with egomaniac. Imagine if a WOMEN made that comment?

  16. Fydo

    Congrats again on your win! The guy who wrote the article is a complete jackass. I’m so proud of you for emailing the publisher of the paper. It’s wrong and it should be brought to their attention and quite frankly they should write a freaking article on the women athletes of Ellington Ct.. And make the Jackass write it too.
    Sorry Dave lives in your neighboorhood, he sounds like a jerk. I guess cyclists are a different breed. Not cool Dave!
    Keep going Allie!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Lisa! Jackass is the perfect word for this guy. I’ll definitely be contacting the actual author of the article just to understand what the hell he was thinking?!

  17. Lynette

    Congrats on winning! Its an awesome achievement. A triathalon is on my bucket list, but I have to work on getting into a 5K this year. Since Im new to all this, and not a sports writer, I had no idea the ladies of the bunch were in a completely separate group. I would hope someone who is a professional in the sports field, like this writer should have known this very important factoid. And, if he wanted to just include your name in the article – it would have been better placed as “Allie B won the race for the women.” The language, given that women compete separately from the men in time categories was just plain condescending.

    1. vita88

      Agreed! I would probably have still been put off but if he had “mentioned” me in a different way, it wouldn’t have been AS bad. Thanks for commenting and good luck with the 5K! You will LOVE it!!

  18. Carla

    I’d be so angry that I wouldn’t be able to see straight! And seriously, the publishers response would only incite me more. None of them know what they are doing or this wouldn’t even be happening. I am seriously at a loss for words because these people are just idiots. Anyone with any sense would know that there are two separate categories. It seems like the men over there only know how to talk out there ass and not use their brain.

    1. vita88

      If it’s one thing that “paper” desperately needs, it’s a woman working in some capacity!! Maybe I should get a job? And yes, I was glad the publisher called me but then he really had no excuse or defense which did make me angrier. Perfect.

  19. Leah

    First off, congratulations! This idiot can’t take away the fact that YOU WON! You are amazing! So, remember that. But, I do think it is crazy and you handled it the best way. That little “mention” was such a slight! He needed to at least mention that YOU WON but really, you deserve a whole article too. Unreal.

    1. vita88

      Thank you! That article took away nothing from my win. I’m hopeful that this was a teaching opportunity and that it doesn’t happen again to another woman.

  20. HappinessSavouredHot

    First off, congrats on your time!

    I don’t know if this was sexism, but it was stupid on the part of the journalist for sure!

    (The fact that elite females are paid less, and that femal sports teams are underfunded IS sexism, I know that.)

    Thank you for sharing. Hopefully it will get people thinking.

    1. vita88

      Thank you! I hope it gets the people who work at this paper thinking so they are sure to include the female athletes in the future! Thanks for your comment and for stopping by…

  21. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    WOW I WANT TO KICK THAT “journalist”s ASS!! Clearly he won’t be moving up in the journalist world. He needs to freaking EDIT HIS WRITING!

    BUT HOT DAMN!!!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! SCREWWW THAT LOCAL PAPER! Relish in your glory of finishing the race at that AMAZING speed! And…. “top female finisher” – That’s a sexy title right there 😉

    1. vita88

      And this is why I love you GiGi! Thank you!!!!

  22. Michelle

    Congrats to you and no I don’t think you are nuts! The journalist definitely should have covered your win as well! That was wrong. SO WRONG!

    You’ll probably get a laugh out of this, but in our intermediate school here, they have a mile run each year and they only have one record holder rather than boys and girls. And the record holder of course has always been a boy. I don’t understand why. Well my daughter got in her head that she wanted that record. In 5th grade she made a comment to my husband and I and my husband stupidly said something to the effect that a boy would always have the record. She screamed at him at how girls could do anything boys could and stormed off. Would you know in 6th grade she came home after that mile run and informed us that the record was hers. 6:01. The following years a couple boys beat it but she was quite proud of herself at the time. 🙂

    1. vita88

      I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this story and your daughter’s spirit! WOW!!! She is a girl after my own heart…and quite speedy too! You must have been SO proud of her. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing that. I feel a lot better now:-)

  23. Emma @ a mom runs this town

    What?!?! First off congrats! Second off- do they know how much harder women work to maintain those times than men????

    1. vita88

      Obviously not!! Thank you:-)

  24. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Your local paper’s sport writers sound a lot like my local’s paper’s sports writers! I think they often just don’t know squat about sports. My husband is a high school track coach and he complains all the time about how the sports writers get names wrong, times wrong, that they totally miss the highlights of the meet, etc. It might be sexism, but it might just be inexperience and/or ignorance too — not that that’s acceptable either!

    Let ME just say to you, however, WAY TO GO, Allie!! What an amazing accomplishment. Seriously!! No matter what was written about the event, don’t let that steal from you the joy of what you did that day. You deserve to savor the fruit of your hard work, my friend. 🙂

    1. vita88

      I guess it’s good to hear that it’s not just my town!! It definitely does not take away from my win. I’m so proud of what I accomplished b/c I worked extremely hard to achieve it. I’m hoping they learn a thing or two about covering races and I’ve learned a thing or two about local papers. Thanks Melinda!

  25. The Shitastrophy

    Wow. First of all Congrat’s that is beyond amazing and something I (and many other women) could only dream of. I don’t care if it was a pool and a HS track it is an amazing feat to be disciplined enough to train for such an event and then compete and win the damn thing – that’s awesome. Ok but more to your point.

    The editor or author both damn well know that there is a woman and mens race. The damn Olympics have it separated out. You don’t turn on the the Lakers and Pistons and expect to see a co-ed team. They totally suck, and truly should be appalled that 1) It happened by the author 2) that the newspaper doesn’t even see the issue in immediately rectifying the problem. Nope you are totally in the right to be pissed.

    I am sorry they are asses, but I sincerely congratulate you on a well deserved and awesome victory.

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much! Seriously…the damn Olympics ARE separated out! Excellent point. And I completely agree that the more serious problem was that they STILL didn’t get it when I pointed it out to them! Obviously these two jackasses don’t have daughters.

  26. Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed

    First off, congratulations! You clearly kicked some ass and that’s beyond impressive. However, I totally agree with all of your points and I’m kind of pissed off to the point where I wish I had the publishers e-mail so I could complain to him!

    1. vita88

      Thank you! I’m glad it’s compelling you to do something!! That’s exactly how I felt, obviously. I’m currently plotting my next move…

  27. Shae

    In my opinion if he didnt want to “slight” you he had two options. Give you your own article (you know since you WON your very own race) or at least acknowledge you in the article fairly. Like a winner of a race. He made it seem like you came in like 3 or 4 but you were the first female to finish! This is sickening that stuff like this STILL happens. But, on another note congrats on the win!

    1. vita88

      Absolutely!!! There are so many ways this could have been handled better. Thank you!

  28. Britton

    Ok…the article was TOTALLY not cool and yes, I feel it was a bit sexist! I feel that if he didn’t want to mention your name as the female WINNER, he shouldn’t have mentioned it all. The publisher should have not even tried to make an excuse for it either. He sounds silly. Secondly, congrats on winning the race!

    1. vita88

      It is so silly, isn’t it? Thanks Britton!

  29. Susannah

    Congratulations on winning the race! I can’t believe the newspaper wrote what they did. You deserved so much more than that!

    Also, you left a comment on my blog and you’re a no-reply blogger so I couldn’t respond. 🙁 Here’s a link to a post I wrote on all the different ways to fix it! (If you want to.) http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/2013/08/no-reply-bloggers-wordpress-and-google.html

    1. vita88

      Thank you and OMG I did not know that!?!?! Thank you so much for the link. I will be fixing that ASAP!

  30. Hope

    WoooW! smh… wrong on all levels. Interview should have been on both winners. How did he beat you out. That’s why that have men AND women’s division. Nothing against Dave, he was the overall winner , but his win should not have been compared to your time.

    Congrats on an awesome finish and a huge win

    1. vita88

      Precisely! Thank you!!

  31. Nicole

    First off, congrats on your awesome race performance! I think that the article mentioned you in a really poorly worded way. The writer surely must have known that female and male competitors were separate – DUH. Even if they weren’t going to really write about the women’s competition, they could have mentioned it in a more positive light. You certainly deserve the recognition!

    In their defense, it does seem as though they were talking more about this guy than the actual race. It would be more screwed up if the article was more focused on the overall race than the competitor specifically. I’ll also say that I freelance for a newspaper, and if the editor thinks that something is missing from the article, they point it out and ask if you can get more details or reword it. Not sure if it works differently over there, but the sports editor’s articles probably get reviewed by the editor-in-chief before it’s published – so no one thought that his wording sounded off I suppose?? In any event, I hope that you soaked up your victory and didn’t let this article put a damper on it at all.

    1. vita88

      Thank you! I really appreciate your response and apparently, no one thought anything was wrong with the article. What I displayed on the post was only the first column and the rest of the article was about the race itself and how it came to be, etc. I guess it could have been worse…they could have left me out completely!

  32. Crystal

    Congratulations on an amazing job! You made us women proud! 🙂

    1. vita88

      Mission accomplished! Thank you!!

  33. One Classy Motha

    Can I say “Asshole”? Too late, already did.

    First, CONGRATULATIONS! That’s sooo awesome! And B) WTF?

    Honestly, I had to laugh when I read the article because that’s just some serious bullshit- it was either laugh or cry for you. Why on earth would he compare his time to yours? If his intentions were to include you, he could have easily said you won your category. No interview needed for that. Did you trip his wife on the course or something?

    1. vita88

      First of all I’m so excited that your reading AND commenting on my post. I love your blog so I’m a little giddy right now. Ok…composure regained. THANK YOU. Yes, total asshole. I *should* have tripped somebody! Had I known this was going to be written, well, let’s just say I may have done some things differently…ha ha ha.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!!

  34. Ilene

    First of all, you ROCK for having won. And as pissed off as you are and as pissed off as I would be – I hope you are still savoring the win and that your win and your feeling of sweet victory, that you worked hard for and earned, is not overshadowed by the mistake of some amateur reporter at a town paper. There is misinformation and bad information all over the media, big and small. Unfortunately, this one interfered with you. Next time you win a Triathalon, because you WILL win again, I hope they get the right coverage.

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Ilene. This article in NO WAY has rained on my parade. Luckily it was written several weeks after the race (deadlines anyone?) so I had ample time to savor my victory!:-)

  35. Karen@ La Chanson de Ma Vie

    Personally, the thing that bothered me most was the winner’s interview. What a tool. “Even though I can’t swim or run, I still knew I’d beat your slow asses.” Okay.

    Our local paper here doesn’t even cover running events, sounds like it might be a good thing.

    1. vita88

      Seriously! I’d say you’re lucky they don’t cover races. I was happier when they didn’t cover mine! Thanks for the comment.

  36. Chrissie

    When I read the article I brought it straight to my husband too because I wanted to make sure I was reading it right! I was angry for you. I mean, really, the title was about how a hometown person won the race…obviously an even better angle would have been TWO hometown winners!!!!!! So dumb!
    I am going to just assume the writer is jealous of you! 😉

    1. vita88

      I would be interested to know what Rob thought about it!! Thanks Chrissie!! I know, right AND we both live in the same damn neighborhood. Stupid.

  37. Samantha

    Wow Im angry for you too!! I researched sexism in triathlon due to a race at the weekend giving out 1,2,3,4th prizes to the men and a vets prize but only giving out prizes/trophies to the 1st and 2nd women I know how you feel I am outraged with this I really am Peoples attitudes are in the 1800s !!

    1. vita88

      It was definitely upsetting but more upsetting was when I found out that it happens ALL the time. Thanks for the comment.

  38. Ashlee

    I feel you girl! I even feel some anger for you. I know this is the complete opposite of running but there was a big pep rally that was being featured on the news in high school, and part of it included a donut eating contest. I knew I could eat the entire dozen and down the glass of milk faster than anybody, but they picked a guy to do it. He ended up cheating and was disqualified. That just urked me so much that I still think about it from time to time.

    1. vita88

      Sounds like you completely understand. It’s funny how something like that can haunt you for years. I guess that’s how you know you were wronged and, perhaps, makes you more aware. Thanks for reading and commenting – I certainly appreciate it!

  39. Xae

    You certainly won as far as I’m concerned! That author probably has a thing with women winning such events!
    Congratulations on your win btw 😀
    Xae recently posted…Dear GuysMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Absolutely. Thanks very much!

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