Surprise: Gender discrimination isn’t even mentioned

The last 10 days have been particularly enlightening for anyone interested in discrimination, and in particular “sexist” criticism. The first was from our own, very dear, Speaker of the House, John Bercow, who complained that he was subjected to jokes and criticism because of his height. His exact words were:

“Whereas nobody these days would regard it as acceptable to criticise someone on grounds of race or creed or disability or sexual orientation, somehow it seems to be acceptable to comment on someone’s height, or lack of it.”


Read the article.

What is fascinating is that he failed to mention sexism as an unacceptable reason for criticising someone. In other words, it is wrong and unacceptable to criticise someone on racial, sexual orientation or disability grounds BUT it appears to be PERFECTLY okay to criticise someone based on their gender. I should be careful here: I don’t want to go down the route of being derogatory about all men, because that is JUST as bad as the media that believes it is right to blame women for everything. It isn’t; it is unacceptable and is discrimination.

My sexist “antennae” were buzzing all week, during the second week of Wimbledon, particularly when I read the Telegraph’s comment section on specific articles. This barometer of the “thinking man’s” opinion wouldn’t fail to ignite the mildest mannered woman to show some aggression towards them. Of course, there are many, many men who are wonderful, but the Telegraph appears to attract the extremes – including the husband of a dear friend who was caught, as a troll, making an inappropriate (sexist) comment on one such DT board.

Two such stories that have appeared are as follows: Andy Murray was knocked out of Wimbledon in the Quarter Finals. However, the press was quick to blame his girlfriend, his mother and his female coach. A Daily Telegraph coach had incredibly, on national TV, suggested that when his coach trained female players, she had to get used to supporting them and “Listening to their problems” – something she wouldn’t have to do for Murray. Really?? Not only was this a sexist comment and assumption that if you train sportswomen, you have to listen to their problems, but I suspect someone coaching sportsmen would have to do the same. Djokovic mentioned that he’d had some personal issues in the last couple of years and that his team had ‘Supported’ him. That’s what a sportsman’s team do. And a sportswoman. It is no surprise that the Daily Telegraph Sport section doesn’t take women’s sport seriously if you have thoughts and biased opinion entrenched in their editorial decisions.

So getting back to the press; this is an extraordinary article with theories on how Murray’s mother, female coach and girlfriend caused him to lose the match.Daily Mail article accusing the women around Andy Murray of causing him to lose his Wimbledon match Extraordinary. I thought this was the men’s singles match; something none of these women could participate in. 5 minutes before the match started, none of them would be allowed into the locker room (changing room). He would be sitting along. How on earth could they have caused him to lose. He was outplayed on the day and didn’t appear to be focused. But why is it acceptable to blame a woman for his loss?? It isn’t.

Of course having a female coach causes problems with the fragile egos of Andy’s training team. Apparently some are rebelling and threatening to leave because of Maurismo’s appointment. Daily Telegraph article about Andy Murray I believe this is a guarded attack against Murray having a female coach, who let’s remember is used to supporting female players, rather than an ex-Grand Slam winner and a coach with an excellent track record. It all rather sounds like boys in the playground doesn’t it. But it seems to be okay to blame the woman.

Finally Eugenie Bouchard and Laura Robson, two young female tennis players, have fallen out. They were close as teenagers but they are rivals. They shared a coach but he’s decided to spend more time working with Bouchard. Fair enough. Friendships with the competition are tough. I know from when I was a singer that other sopranos were essentially the competition. Robson and Bouchard were close because they trained as teenagers together and friendships tend to be very intense at that age. Of course the Telegraph has blown this up. Telegraph builds a storm that Bouchard and Robson have fallen out – perhaps over a man I suspect friendships like those of Murray and Nadal (who trained as teens together) also suffered when they became serious rivals. That’s how it goes. You learn to surround yourself with your team who are your supporters. But the press has to make out that there is something different because it is women. Is it unacceptable for women to be rivals? Or to show ambition. One paper even suggested the ‘breakup’ was because of a man. Well it was; a coach.

Articles like these only go to stereotype women. With this bias journalism it is no wonder that women continue to be discriminated against. If we were to re-write the articles replacing the sexist bias with racist, it would be totally unacceptable, yet our society still believes it is okay to stereotype women. It isn’t. So don’t.

The post Surprise: Gender discrimination isn’t even mentioned appeared first on The Executive Voice Coach.

About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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