What’s wrong with being sexy? Oh, sexIST.

22 September 2010

Ladies:  you must let men do whatever they like to you, otherwise like the entire public will want to hurt you.  Or at least that’s the message from the Inés Sainz case last week.  A 9-year veteran reporter and an on-camera sports reporter with Mexico’s TV Azteca, Sainz appeared on the sidelines of the NY Jets’ football practice with two of her camera crew.  She’s awesome-looking, so those scamps! insisted on throwing passes near Sainz so they could catch it in her vicinity and get a better look at her.  After the game, during the 30-minute period when both male and female reporters are allowed into the locker room, she was subjected to an onslaught of catcalls from the players so loud she had to cover her ears.  Another reporter present filed a grievance with the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) that was addressed immediately by the NFL, which found after an investigation that “she was never bumped, touched, brushed against, or otherwise subjected to any physical contact by any player or coach.”  Because unless one of these guys touches you, you’re not allowed to feel threatened.

Here’s the upshot:  The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams reminding them to treat women in a professional manner.  What a bitch!  Don’t you totally hate getting memos?

Except that’s not all:  Sainz has been called a bitch and a tease in every possible way.  News stories about the incident invariably feature unrelated photos of Sainz wearing low-cut dresses and bikinis.  Here’s a typical account of the incident:

“Sainz, who has previously appeared in several magazines wearing just a bikini, defended her appearance at the Jets practice session, insisting she dressed modestly, and posting a photo on Twitter to back up her claims.

‘Jeans and a white button-up blouse [are] in no way inappropriate,’ she tweeted.”

Golly, I wonder how most readers will interpret that:  If I can find a photo of her in a sexy bikini, she must be a slut who wants this kind of attention from men.  Actually, I don’t have to wonder how they’ll interpret it, because their interpretations flew fast and furious and invariably made the same point:

“You play with fire, you get burned.”

“Boys will be boys (especially jocks!!) and this chick is only doing this for attention and she is loving it!! Soak it up lady cuz when your looks run out, you will be nothing!!”

What’s a girl to do?  With the public breathing fire, Sainz not only backed off from her initial complaints, but attacked the AWSM for launching a grievance.  Of course she did.  Would she still have a job if she actually stood up for herself?  Hey everybody, Sainz is on board now — let’s go blame the feminists for this incident!  (No kidding: she now says the hasty action by the AWSM set back the women’s rights movement by “at least 50 years.”  Which is actually a pretty confusing claim, but I’m sure it guarantees that Sainz won’t be shunned by athletes.)

Which brings me back to my headline, from “This is Spïnal Täp,” in which the band’s manager tries to defend the cover on their new album, “Sniff the Glove,” from an irate woman.  “You put a greased naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man’s arm extended out to her, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it.  You don’t find that offensive?  You don’t find that sexist?”  He responds:  “This is 1982, Bobbi, c’mon!” while the dim-witted band members express confusion.  “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

This is 1982, man.  You must let men do whatever they like to you, otherwise we will hurt you. 

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5 Responses to “What’s wrong with being sexy? Oh, sexIST.”

  1. nostarsun Says:

    I think it’s insane how MANY disgusting guys there are out there. How do women ever marry?

  2. wittywife Says:

    Where’s the injustice, here? If you want to be treated like a professional, behave like one. Don’t call yourself the Sexiest Reporter in Mexico.

    Surprise: If you dress like you’re going to a bar, you’re going to be treated like you’re going to a bar.

    Maybe if she had a little more self respect, she wouldn’t feel the need to dress slutty to get attention (and then act surprised when she gets catcalls.)

    I’m sorry, but when you MARKET yourself as the Sexiest Reporter in Mexico, what kind of attention do you THINK you’re going to get?

    I’m sorry, but as a woman, I can’t stand behind a woman who doesn’t respect herself.

    • didion Says:

      I appreciate your position, and I agree that women themselves are buying into the idea that they have to ratchet up the sex appeal in order to get ahead in their jobs. So let’s say that Sainz is, in fact, dressing more provocatively than other female reporters (and honestly, I don’t know whether this is true). Does that mean that she simply has to take whatever verbal abuse comes her way?

      I’m as exasperated as you are, WittyWife, about the pornification of women on TV and in film. But I think that the real problem here is that it leads to the argument, “If you dress that way, you’re asking for trouble.” I’ve heard too many accounts of rape trials recently in which that was the argument: she wore a slinky dress and therefore she had it coming to her. YIKES.

      Yes, my post is more sympathetic to Sainz — but really I think both men and women have a responsibility to act professionally, and that the pornified impulse of our media world has the effect of encouraging all manner of violence toward women.

      • wittywife Says:

        First thing – I definitely agree with you as far as rape. Being physically forced to do something against your will in never okay.

        I think part of my issue here is that she DOESNT care and yet it was still made a big deal. She wasn’t the one to report the incident. She thrives on the sexual attention of men. She knew what she was doing.

        “Does that mean that she simply has to take whatever verbal abuse comes her way? ” See, I don’t consider this verbal abuse. She dressed sexy and actually enjoyed the attention. To certain other women, that may have been verbal abuse, but for a woman who exploits her sexuality on purpose to get sexual attention, and doesn’t complain about it? She enjoys her role in the spotlight.

        Now, if she didn’t like the attention, and she complained about it, this would be a WHOLE different story, and of course I’d reconsider how I felt about it.

        But honestly, women like her disgust me to a degree. Ratcheting up your sex appeal to get ahead? It’s so self degrading. And honestly, it’s insulting to women who actually work their tails off to get where they want to be. You can call it sexual freedom if you want, but this idea that you can dress as slutty as you want and everyone should keeps their mouths shut? It makes sense in a vacuum, but not the real world.

      • didion Says:

        And I’d be with you 100% if she were alone in the TV universe. Instead, virtually every woman who appears — whether they’re pretending to be professionals, like the women on “CSI”, or the women who appear as news anchors and reporters — exaggerates her sex appeal. I say we should decry the phenomenon at large but understand when individuals do it.

        And you’re right that Sainz didn’t launch the formal complaint, but she did complain on Twitter. She later rescinded all complaints — a move that I choose to read as doing what she had to do for her career.

        I worry about this too, as I teach undergrads in a conventional college setting — women who call themselves “girls,” women who are very smart but often speak in class as if they’re dingbats, women who wear short-shorts and tank tops to class because everyone wears them. Women who would defend this clothing as their “choice,” and claim it gives them “power” to proclaim their sexuality and attractiveness. They’ve already learned to be sexy rather than professional. Every once in a while I try to talk these ideas through with them, but I find it depressingly unproductive. What will it take for them to take themselves seriously?


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