Feminist Friday – 2016 Olympic Coverage

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Dear Media,

I really wanted to enjoy watching the 2016 Olympic coverage this year. I adored London 2012. Thanks to my wonderful friend Elspeth, I even had the chance to go to a couple of the events. I bought the DVD ffs. And a large part of that was the fact that the female athletes were so well respected and honoured in the coverage of their competitions.

There were so many fantastic women to cheer for on Team GB: Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Adams, Lizzie Armistead, Victoria Pendleton, Danielle King, Joanna Roswell, Laura Trott, Charlotte Dujardin, Zara Phillips, Laura Bechtolsheimer, the ENTIRE of the women’s football team, Beth Tweddle, Karina Bryant, Helen Glover, Heather Stanning, Katherine Grainger, Anna Watkins, Katherine Copeland, Sophie Hosking, Saskia Clark, Hannah Mills, Rebecca Adlington, Jade Jones, Laura Robson…

And that’s just the British medal winning women! There were superb athletes, glorious women at the top of their fields from all over the world, competing at the highest level and shining like absolute stars.

Unfortunately, this year, everything seems to have gone to pot.

Let’s start with the fact that two boxers have now been arrested on charges of rape against two maids working in the Olympic village. Urgh. Disgusting.

Next up, people on social media decided to pick on the lovely Helen Skelton over the length of her skirts. She looked fabulous, and glamorous. And do these people know how hot it is in Rio? Seriously, what did they expect? No actually, don’t answer that, it would depress me.

However, I thought “well, at least the female athletes will have earned the respect of the media for this year’s Olympic coverage”.

…Yeah, not so much. It’s been pretty horrific actually, to the point where even The BBC have noticed.

For a start, Dan Hicks, an NBC Olympics commentator, decided to credit Katinka Hosszu’s husband for her gold medal. As the camera panned over him, there were no comments about him being proud, or a lucky man. No indeed – “there’s the man responsible” was the accolade bestowed. Seriously? I mean, seriously?? The woman just put in an Olympic Gold Medal winning performance, but you think her husband is responsible? Head, meet desk.

Next up, bronze medalist Corey Cogdell was described by the Chicago Tribune as “the wife of Bears lineman Mitch Unrein”. Since when do women get defined by their husbands’ jobs? Where are we, the 1950s?

Urgh. Just … urgh.

And, as we know in this deeply patriarchal world, women are not judged just by their relationships and partners by the Media. They’re judged according to their looks. And Fox News can always be relied upon to bring things back to that basic level. Two male commentators even decided to have a debate about whether athletes should be wearing makeup. After all, as one of them said: “Why not a little blush on the lips and cover those zits? I like to see the person who wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful.” Because honouring them for their achievements should come second to that, obviously. To be fair, they were equal-opportunist in their idiocy, as they decided to pick on Michael Phelps as well as the female athletes. Obviously 22 Gold Medals just isn’t enough for these guys, Michael, you need to look photo-shopped to death on the podium too.

And it’s not just the makeup that’s been under scrutiny either! The Daily Fail decided to pick on gymnast Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan, claiming that her pink and white leotard “failed to compliment her skin tone”, while The Sun were more interested in Michelle Jenneke’s ‘Abs-olutely fabulous” physique than her medal winning chances, even going so far as to suggest that she “certainly isn’t shy about showing off her body.” No links for those two. My hatred for the Daily Fail and The Sun should be well known to readers here by now.

Finally, just to add soppy icing to a burnt cake, some muppet on twitter decided to try and mansplain cycling to Annemiek van Vleuten. You know, the woman who was on course for victory until an horrific crash left her out of the race and hospital bound, with spectators fearing for her life and health. As if the crash weren’t enough, she was met with this response on twitter after tweeting to let fans know she was ok:

Ladies and gentleman, I don't believe it! It appears a man is barreling over hurdles to give unsolicited advice!!

First rule of bicycling …

She’s competing in the GODDAMN OLYMPICS! I think she’s way past the first rule of bicycling, dipshit!

As a result of all this rubbish, I am suddenly glad that I have not been following this year’s Olympic Coverage. I don’t think my television or sanity would have survived intact.

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