The Rio Olympics have been yet another showcase of some of the world’s best athletes, with American stars such as Katie Ledecky and the “Final Five” gymnastics team captivating audiences with their high-achieving performances.
Unfortunately, the media at times has not been on par with the female Olympians, with sexism creeping into what should be a celebration of athletic talent. The Chicago Tribune and NBC itself have come under fire for missteps, and now Fox News is the latest to take the focus off the athletics and onto the superficial.
Fox News’ Sports Court aired a particularly banal segment Thursday, inviting two men (on a show hosted by a woman) to discuss whether female athletes should be wearing makeup while competing. It’s not only a question that would never be asked of men, it’s completely irrelevant to the performance of the athletes. (It’s more or less the equivalent of SI having a male college football reporter comment on the rigors of giving birth.)
Some choice quotes from the proceeding include:
“I think when you see an athlete, why should I have to look at some chick’s zits? Why not a little blush on her lips and cover those zits?”
“Would you put money behind a gal that won the gold medal that looks like a washed out rag?”
“Tamara, look how beautiful you are with that makeup. What do you look like when you crawl out of bed in the morning? I’d rather have you now.”
Fox News, of course, is currently embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal involving the ousted, former head of the network Roger Ailes.
Gymnast Aly Raisman, a 22-year-old, explained the situation much better than any of the adults on Fox.
“I think it’s kind of cool to have that sort of badass feeling that you’re doing your sport and you’re really strong and powerful, but at the same time, you can feel really feminine and beautiful. I think for me, having that combination is what makes me feel really confident.”