Erin Andrews Calls Out Double Standards In Sports Broadcasting

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She is a woman who has paved the way for many young women who dream of having a career in sports broadcasting. While she is certainly not the first, she is one of the big breakout female stars because she rose to fame during a time when the internet and social media became big. She has managed to battle past the “barbie doll” criticisms to prove to her haters that she is a legitimate sports broadcaster with better knowledge than most.

Aside from her work on the Fox NFL show, she is the co-host on Dancing With The Stars and is about to start filming season 19. She is certainly busy and doesn’t have time to respond to the people who like to make fun of her because of her image, but being the pro that she is, she allows her work to speak for itself. The girl who has reported on US college football for ten years sat down with Caitlyn Becker from Huffpost Live and spoke about how she deals with pressure and how she balances her career with her image.

Listening to the way she talks about negativity, it is clear that it doesn’t bother her as much, and working hard is much more important to her, and being a role model for young girls.

A viewer asked Erin what the biggest challenge she faces being in a male-dominated industry.

“I’ve been lucky, and I realize this doesn’t happen to everyone, I don’t ever feel just because I’m a female I’m not getting the opportunities,” she says candidly, which is an encouraging sign. “ESPN has been good to me for 8 years, FOX has been good to me. The only times I can see it, in terms of women being treated differently is social media. Negative comments…a lot of the time I feel people are just doing that so people will read it and giv them attention. That’s the only time I feel there is stereotyping in the industry.”

Caitlyn Becker asks if Erin feels respected by the coaches and players who she interviews and she says 100%, but it took hard work to get there.

“People forget at ESPN…for 8 years of my life I worked college football, college basketball, major league baseball, little league, college world series. I have done so much, and I think what helped me was athletes and coaches (who are fans of other sports) seeing how much you know and how versatile you are.”

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I.e, if you work at it hard enough, your gender will not get in the way, but your talent will speak volumes. Erin says she only just went to Europe for the first time at age 36, because she has been so committed to working that she hasn’t had time for a holiday. Now that’s dedication! She does feel like unfortunately she has had to work double hard as others to prove she means business, not so much to industry folks, but to audiences and especially social media followers.

“The naysayers, the nasty comments, the stuff on twitter, the articles, that has pushed me. That’s made me neurotic about studying…so in a way I almost thank those people.”

Being a role model for so many young girls who dream of having a career like hers, Erin says one of the things she has learned, being in a highly competitive industry, is that you can’t deny who you are, meaning she didn’t feel it was necessary to “dumb down” her femininity just to be seen as a serious sports broadcaster.

“In the beginning I did, but I was also very new to the scene and you have to get respect. I was just on the cover of Health Magazine, and when you post that people are like ‘well that’s hard-hitting journalism!’,” she says while also mentioning that plenty of male sports reporters and athletes are on countless magazine covers, including one of her mentors George Strahan.

“Its kinda funny because people talk about the way you dress, and that way you care about what you look like. I work with some very attractive men on Fox. The Fox NFL pre-game show, they are dressed to the nines and no one says anything about that. They’re athletes, they work out, they look good in their suits but there’s never any discussion about that.”

It seems to be a double standard in the industry, but it doesn’t bother Erin as much as it used to.

“It used to upset me and I used to hold back, but now I embrace it. The boys are doing it, why can’t I do it?”

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Caitlyn Becker asked if she feels responsible for setting a good example for a generation of girls who previously did not have a representative or a seat at the table.

“I’ve worked my tail off to get where I am, and if people don’t want to believe I can hold my own in a conversation about sports or sit down and watch a game and point story lines out, then that’s their problem. I don’t need to prove it to them anymore.”

“What’s wrong with showing you are a woman who takes care of her body, who likes to work out and dress up and wear lip gloss, and hang with the boys? I mean it’s 2014, are we still discussing this?!”

Amen Erin! We should not be having to prove ourselves and justify the certain choices we make. Like she said, if people have a problem with it, that’s their issue not ours. Host Caitlyn reiterates that because of the rise of social media and its power to drive certain discussions, it has enabled women to own our femininity and sexuality and not have it detract from our skill set.

She is certainly an inspiration in a unique way. She started on the sports scene with the internet was in full swing which meant she had to battle through criticism at a much closer level. Yet here she is today, Erin Andrews, star sports broadcaster who just happens to be a female. And if she has enabled the industry to allow more and more young women to come through the ranks proving they are just as skilled and knowledgeable as men, then everything she has experienced that may have been negative was totally worth it.

Check out the full interview below:


 

 

 

 

2 Comments

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