Sexism Causes a Racket at Wimbledon

800px-Tennis_Racket_and_BallsBritons were elated this week when tennis-star Andy Murray made history by beating opponent Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon finals. Winning Wimbledon is a big deal for British tennis fans and the media exploded with praise for Murray’s victory after a 77-year drought for British tennis players.

Unfortunately, media networks from CNN to the BBC got their facts wrong. Murray is not the first Brit to win Wimbledon in the last 77 years; there have, in fact, been four British women champions in that time: Dorothy Round Little in 1937, Angela Mortimer Barrett  in 1961, Ann Haydon-Jones in 1969 and Virginia Wade in 1977.

In response to the sexist reporting, Feministing editor Chloe Angyal tweeted, “Murray is indeed the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years unless you think women are people.” At the time of this writing, she’s been re-tweeted 19,551 times, and this picture of Wade has traversed the Internet:

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This is an encouraging reaction, but sadly, the sexism at Wimbledon still continues. Last Friday, French tennis player Marion Bartoli won the Wimbledon women’s singles. Instead of praising her victory, she was criticized for her appearance. Her opponent, Sabine Lisicki, was credited with having more of the “tennis star look”—as if there was such a thing.

Some Twitter users were unabashed in their sexism, homophobia and nastiness:

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(You can find more horrendous Tweets here )

While many idiots can hide behind the anonymity of a computer, the same cannot be said of the BBC’s John Inverdale, who also chose to comment on Bartoli’s looks instead of her acumen as a tennis player. Inverdale, for whom tennis sexism is nothing new, was then allowed to go about business as usual, commentating the men’s singles finals.

And if sexists grew tired of criticizing the players, they could always turn to the audience, where the wives and girlfriends of tennis players were scrutinized for their reactions, and pitted against each other as if they themselves were the spectator sport.

Shoved into tropes and stereotypes, it seems not a woman is spared when it comes to Wimbledon.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vladsinger under license from Creative Commons 3.0

Comments

  1. Ms.Feline says:

    Remember the ladies.

  2. I heard the sportscasters state the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936. It is a great victory. Virginia Wade won in 1977 – the same year the Queen attended to celebrate her 25th year on the throne. It was nice to see and yes Britain did celebrate!!

  3. While I agree with much of this article I should point out that the BBC have never said that Andy Murray was the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years. They have consistently said he was the first man.

  4. ‘Sexism? Really? Wrong this is male hatred for women because they happen to be women not men. Read the tweet sent by those males who openly and proudly declare they hate women because they are female.

    Sexism is a term which does not name the issue and men like it this way because holding men accountable is not what men want. Would we call ‘racism’ not ‘racism’ if and when white men publicly declare their hatred and contempt for non-white women and men? Of course not because non-white men also happen to endure racism from white men, but men uttering sexually degrading insults directed at women is supposedly just ‘sexism’ not ‘male hatred and/or male contempt for women! Remember if men aren’t the ones being subjected to hatred and contempt collectively because they happen to be male then the issue isn’t real and so it is with women because men are directing their hatred at women not at men.

    If we continue denying what men are proudly enacting then we might as well ‘pack up and admit men are the definitive humans and men are entitled to utter sexually degrading insults at women any time they feel inclined because women are too frightened to hold these men accountable.

  5. If racist comments by well-paid broadcasters were this overt, people would not only notice, but be outraged. While racism remains all-too-strong, sexism–sexism with hate speech that includes heterosexism–remains acceptable. As always, glad we’re all equal now.

  6. American prejudices, including misogyny, can be traced back to British beliefs and attitudes dating back to the colonial era. So this is no surprise — there Murray gets the public celebration, the women champs are found only in the record books. American women fight harder for acknowledgment — nobody here ignores Billie Jean King and her peers (please, not “peeresses”!). But the sexist filth-remarks are uttered here as much as in Britain.

  7. Perhaps these neanderthal men might best be confined to watching the males compete. This whole “rating” system for women is just so juvenile. I bet they are still drawing pictures of their genitals in odd places. It’s probably not their fault, given the fluoride in the water. We just need to keep them away from women and other people for everyone’s safety.

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if women athletes actually reported on women’s sport? What a novel idea. Perhaps one day women can also coach players, maybe even some men? Why isn’t men’s sport labeled “Men’s (fill-in-the-blank)?” No, only sports for women are so labeled by gender, so as to de-legitimize them somehow. It’s all so very subtle and in such good taste, I’m sure.

  8. Not bit surprised. Agree, if it was racism, not sexism, it would be explosive!

  9. Lauren Donna Graham says:

    The trouble is that the sperm-dispensers know that if the playing field were even, they would have to deal with the fact that, other than things that require brute strength, women would do as well as or better than them on everything and that terrifies them. This is the underlying cause of the hatred toward women. They fear our power, and the opposite of fear is hate.

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