SPORTS

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October 29, 2013

Where are all the female sportswriters?

Another school year has begun, and here we are already in fifth week. As a Maroon Sports editor, I find myself constantly hoping to find more writers in new places. Yet, the pattern is pretty much always the same. A bunch of first-years are interested in the first RSO fair, a few at the second, and by winter quarter, we have about three new writers who contribute consistently. People are busy, so it’s hard to get them to commit. I have nothing against them; I understand how this school can completely jeopardize one’s time. I’m not here to complain about a fluctuating writer base or feeling as if my section doesn’t have enough fresh faces. It’s just there’s one group of potential scribes that we have yet to draw from this year, and it’s making me worried.

We have no new female writers. This is only my third year here, but I can attest to the fact that we have had at least one, if not multiple, women interested in writing for Maroon Sports in the early weeks of school in the last two years. This year, not a single one. Not even one e-mail address at either of the RSO fairs.

As one of Maroon Sports’s two female editors, and the upper one in the hierarchy—the other is an associate—I’m worried. Maybe the problem is that girls just don’t know enough about sports to write about them. I know that to be untrue, though. Any athlete at this school could write about the male team for her corresponding sport, and a lot more girls on this campus follow sports than you might realize. The number of conversations I had at the Panhellenic formal sorority recruitment about sports can attest to this.

So why, then, do we not have women writers? I know that a lot of what I’ve said so far is stereotyping, and I hope that won’t turn anyone off to our section. We’re a great group of open-minded people. And while my male co-editors may not have realized it, it has become increasingly clear to me in the past few weeks that we just don’t have that interest from first-year women this year.

I really don’t have any answers here, but I have a litany of questions. Why is this year different from any other year? Why don’t girls express interest in writing about sports? We know there are female sports fans, and we know there are female writers, so why do these groups not intersect?

Perhaps the interest in sports is more confined to athletes themselves than we realize, especially among women; one of my male co-editors is a varsity athlete, and the other two are both involved on a club level. Maybe I’m the aberration. Being a varsity or club athlete comes with a whole host of responsibilities, and being in Ida Noyes twice a week for a huge chunk of time just might not be something they can commit to, completely understandably so. We need them to keep playing, so we keep getting content to write about. So carry on. But I still think the absence of female writers this year is worth thinking about.

I want more women writers because I want to be a real, non-Maroon, seven-days-a-week sportswriter one day. And I want others to have this dream, too. I want the Maroon to come across a girl who agrees to write one volleyball article because she has a friend on the team, and ends up loving the format and coming back for more. I want us to be able to show girls that writing about sports is like writing about news, but less depressing and requiring a lot more creativity. Nobody seems to realize how much brainpower the sports section entails. The fact is, these teams do the same basic things each week: either they win, or they lose. Coming up with new headlines week after week to denote wins and losses, to the same general group of teams because we are in the UAA, is not an easy task. And it isn’t exactly a honeymoon for our writers, either, coming up with new and exciting leads when it’s a team’s second or third game against Wash U in the season. But we do it, and it makes us better thinkers, writers, and editors. And I want some women on board.

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