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Nine for IX: Let Them Wear Towels Directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern Premieres Tonight on ESPN

Nine for IX: Let Them Wear Towels Directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern Premieres Tonight on ESPN

The latest film (the third) in the series Nine for IX is a historical look at the women who broke the barriers for women to cover sports.  It is directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern and gives us what I would call an important chapter of feminist history.

The women in the piece were juxtaposed in two male dominated fields, sports and media.  We know that women have always been sports fans and women have always written about sports, they just didn’t get the big gigs.  Part of that was because there was a rule that women couldn’t go in the locker rooms.  As the women’s movement progressed and women went for bigger jobs that lack of access became a big problem and the women fought to change the rules.  There were many men who did not want women in the locker rooms for a myriad of reasons including the fact that they liked having something of their own — a boy’s club. 
Why the locker room became a place to conduct interviews I will never fully understand, but it has.  And when you are a professional writer hired by a media outlet you have to be able to do your job.  That’s exactly what these women were doing. Their jobs.  Yet they did not have equal access and were at times berated and harassed for wanting to do their jobs.
Every young woman especially the ones who are part of sports writing staffs and don’t think for a minute that there was a struggle for them to get equal access needs to thank the pioneers women in this piece:  Melissa Ludtke, Claire Smith, Lesley Visser, Lisa Olson and Christine Brennan for all they did so now that young women can do what they do.
What this movie shows is that nothing came without a fight and this is another fight that has never really been visible.  This is the unearthing of history.  It is the telling of women’s stories.  
But while this film may be documenting settled history, there are still limited opportunities for women to be sports reporters. Less than 10% of all sports departments are staffed by women and those jobs are in jeopardy in the post recession media landscape.  That’s why it is important to know the history, to prevent ever going back to the same place again.
The film premieres on ESPN tonight at 8pm.

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This is such an abhorrent feminist double standard. If it is so professional why are not female athletes subject to this invasion of privacy. No male reporters are allowed in a women’s locker room while the athletes are in any state of undress. In the WNBA they are ushered out after 20-30 minutes so the women can change in total privacy. Could you imagine the feminist law suits if the shoe was on the other foot! In the U.S. it was a feminist female judge that made the ruling that a woman’s right to getting a quote after a sporting event was more important than a man’s right to privacy and decency. This situation is a feminist double standard and not any type of measure of equality. In professional and most college men’s sports female reporters as well as female college interns are permitted into the locker room 10 minutes after the game ends and can stay until the last athlete leaves. Male athletes are forced to shower and change in their presence. A law made punishable by fine by a feminist female judge.

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