Shortly after Marion Bartoli won the Wimbledon tennis tournament on Saturday – arguably the most prestigious event in the sport – BBC Radio 5 commentator John Inverdale asked:
Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘you’re never going to be a looker, you’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight?’
It was an offensive and irrelevant question, especially in light of Bartoli’s major accomplishment minutes before. Yet it stands out as another reminder of how difficult it is for many in our society to see beyond a woman’s appearance (even when that woman is a world-class athlete).
That’s why I’m encouraging all of you to tune in to ESPN for the next several Tuesday nights and watch Nine for IX, a series of inspiring documentaries from Executive Producer Robin Roberts. Last week Venus Williams fought for equal pay for women at Wimbledon and tonight Pat Summit, the most ‘winning’ college basketball coach of all-time (that’s men’s and women’s basketball) do her thing.
It’s important to celebrate these positive media portrayals of women in the media, not only to support current athletes like Bartoli, but to show our boys and girls alike inspiring examples of women using their skills to achieve major success in sports and life. So grab a friend, sister, brother, son, daughter, niece, nephew, husband, wife, aunt or uncle and ask them to watch these healthy portrayals of women along with you. Let’s show the networks we are interested in watching stories about women. — Reprinted email from Miss Representation
See the full ESPN schedule at http://espn.go.com/espnw/w-in-action/nine-for-ix/
July 9: Pat XO: This raw, authentic portrait of legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt takes the camera from the filmmaker’s hands and places it into those who know her best.
July 16: Let Them Wear Towels: When a female journalist was sexually harassed by New England Patriots players in 1990, it set off a national debate about women in men’s locker rooms. In “Let Them Wear Towels,” you’ll hear stories of raw behavior and remarkable resolve.
July 23: No Limits: Through her battle with scoliosis, Audrey Mestre discovered a passion for the ocean that led her to competitive free diving. “No Limits” looks at the human quest to push beyond our limits, a quest that can sometimes be fatal.
July 30: Swoops: Sheryl Swoopes has struggled with love, family and money, but she has never lost her spirit. In “Swoopes,” you will meet someone who is not your everyday superstar, but a woman who has defied many labels.
August 6: The Diplomat: Katarina Witt may have been one of East Germany’s most famous athletes at the height of the Cold War, but “The Diplomat” shows how the figure skater ended up being a beneficiary and victim of the socialist regime.
August 13: Runner: Mary Decker was supposed to finally have her Olympic moment at the 1984 Games. But that moment turned to heartbreak after a collision with Zola Budd produced one of the most infamous moments in sports history.
August 20: The ’99ers: With candid, behind-the-scenes footage, “The ’99ers” offers a unique look at the U.S. soccer team that changed the face of women’s sports, reuniting key players from the squad to examine how the stage has changed since then.