This was a rough one but important and timely. I wrote this post two years ago, almost to the day, hence the Throwback Thursday theme. I’m proud to be co-hosting with Brittany at My Own Balance, who came up with the great idea to apply #TBT to blog posts!
Since this was originally published in 2013 many of you may not have read it. As I re-read it, I got upset all over again. At the time, as you will read, I was furious but, like the title reads, I’ll let you be the judge…
Now imagine those wavy Scooby Doo lines and freaky music as we step back in time…
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:
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:
…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.
Although I cringed to read some of this, I kept it exactly as I wrote it two years ago. Yes, I used to highlight things I thought were really important!
What do you want to throwback this Thursday?
CLICK BELOW TO LINK UP!
You totally weren’t overreacting and I would have been so pissed, too. Seriously, I don’t think this would have ever been done to a man – not in a NY minute. So, glad you re-shared this though, because I am pretty sure I don’t recall reading and love the idea of throw back Thursday posts to get to read, because like this one I truly never got to see before and like that I did though.
Thanks Janine! I’m curious to know if the paper has changed their ways… I should probably look into it.
Hope you link up with Brittany next week 🙂
I remember this happening and I think it is ridiculous!!! That paper should be ashamed! Question, since that race, has the paper covered the female winners?
Thanks for linking up!!!!!
I haven’t checked but I’m sure they haven’t! I guess I need to win another local race so I can find out 🙂
I am seriously pissed reading this!!! They should have done an entire article on you the next time the paper came out, and put a little retraction / apology for the error of saying the guys beat you when you are not in the same category….. Seriously, what kind of sports editor does that????
It’s SO ridiculous!! A friend of mine who is usually a race winner/age group winner, contacted me after I wrote this and said it happens ALL the time and she’s so glad I outed them! Crazy.
This is why I love Brittany’s series! It’s so fun to read posts from before I found your awesome blogs! But are you kidding me with this?? “He also beat out top female finisher Allie Burdick”!!!! Unbelievable. I hope at the time someone read your post and sent it to the editor. I have the same question as Britt – has their coverage of local races become at all intelligently written since then?
I really don’t know because I haven’t raced this triathlon or any other local race that would be covered by this paper. I was honestly surprised they even covered the tri at the time b/c it’s mostly a high school sports paper. I was just glad I called the editor out and I hope it at least made him stop and think about it. So crazy.
Wow that’s insane!! I can’t believe the BS excuse they gave you. Totally unacceptable. The smallness of some people’s minds is crazy to me!
It really was unbelievable to me!
That is such BS!!! I would have been super pissed too! And their explanation was weak. You rocked the race and deserved the celebration the paper for your accomplishment as much as he did!
I couldn’t agree more! 🙂 Thanks Sandra!
UGH that makes me so angry, and you had every right to be furious! Back when I lived in a small town in Indiana, the news media would do the same thing – only cover the male winners. One paper even STOPPED TAKING PHOTOS after the top men crossed the finish line. That type of sexism bothers me, and it’s everywhere. I was top of my class in graduate school, but I was also one of two girls in my program. I spend two years putting up with whispers that I only got my grades because “the professors felt bad for me for being a girl.” Good for you for contacting them and standing up for yourself!
That is insane about your grad school! I think it’s so interesting that most assume sexism that is so blatant like this doesn’t exist anymore. Unfortunately, we know better.
Keep fighting the good fight my friend!
So during my lunch break I had to go back and read this! Unbelievable!!!
I know, right?? I have yet to see an article from this year’s race but I almost don’t want to. Something tells me they did not learn from their mistakes. UGH!!!
EVERYONE should be recognized and praised for their accomplishment, on an equal basis. If you want to fight for equal recognition, equal pay, equal whatever, I’m all for it.
I get a lot more enjoyment from watching ‘the final 5′, than watching men’s gymnastics. I enjoy to death Katie Ledecky’s performances (and persona) which, in my opinion, surpass Phelps’ 20+ gold medals, although I admittedly admire both.
Katie is humble, unassuming, a warrior, and secure in who she is as a woman. Phelps is great, but rather immature. Who possibly thinks it is ok to name their child ‘Boomer’?
I would pay a lot more money to see Katie than Phelps, I would pay a lot more money to see ‘the final 5’ than men’s gymnastics. They are more entertaining, gracious, and cultivated than the men. So yes, women should be paid as much as men, getting recognition at every level of society like men.
However, when you attach a label to this such as sexism, I view this as just another ill-conceived notion that will be skewed and twisted to lend credence to the thought that -the world owes me a living because I’m a minority, or dis-enfranchised, or whatever the f**k excuse you can come up with. How entirely millennial and putrid an excuse! You’re now demanding to be subsidized!
By creating the term sexism, you’ve effectively coalesced the forces conspiring against you, you’ve divided the sexes so they’ll never see themselves as equals, you’ve created an artificial divide that will be even greater to overcome than it was b4.
Great job feminists! Inequality was such a simple concept to overcome, now you’ve given it a name making it a disease!