At the 2014 Australian Open, It’s ‘Game, Set, Match’ for Sexism

Before this rant commences, here is the back story:

  • Canadian tennis pro Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the Australian Open semifinals by defeating Ana Ivanovic, who was favored to win
  • In other words, Bouchard, a professional athlete demonstrated her excellence in front of millions of people
  • Former tennis pro turned sideline reporter Samantha Smith had the opportunity to interview Bouchard immediately after that demonstration concluded

And then…and then…just watch:

Now…what world are we in, Humanoids? What planet are we ON when someone, who has definitely fought gender politics in her life, breaks into the predominately-male field of broadcast journalism only to subscribe to the same oppressive culture?

Some people might argue that because Smith asked another woman who she would date, that she was turning the paradigm on its head by making Bouchard into the sexual subject instead of the sexual object.

Those people would be wrong.

As hard as female athletes have worked to be taken seriously, Smith’s question put Bouchard in the position to be viewed as a man’s counterpart in a context where it could not have been less relevant. This wasn’t a Sportscenter Sunday Conversation. This wasn’t a Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel moment. This interview happened right after Bouchard continued to prove her athletic prowess on a global stage.

And as for Smith’s excuse of “They asked me to say this,” they also used to say women should stay in the kitchen. They also used to say that sports are no place for a woman. So when Samantha Smith turns a 19-year-old’s shining moment into TMZ-level nonsense, it makes me wonder whether Smith thinks that they were right all along.

Take a lap, Samantha. When they asked you to ask that question, the response was supposed to be, “No.”

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