Maria Miller vs the BBC: Tackling sexism in sports coverage is quite the set of hurdles

The Minister for Women and Equalities will have her work cut out

Share
Related Topics

There are those who think that the position of Minister for Women and Equalities is a bit of a play job, something you do in your spare time alongside a real brief such as Culture, Media and Sport, but Maria Miller is going to be busy if she plans to send formal letters to everyone who is sexist about sportswomen.

She has just written to the BBC asking if “any further action is likely to be taken” over John Inverdale’s comments about the Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. (He wondered if her dad had told her when she was little that she’d better be good at tennis because she was “never going to be a looker”.) The BBC is yet to reply; maybe it has its top people rating Ms Miller’s looks out of 10 before they decide if she’s worthy of a response.

This was also the week that Jessica Ennis was asked when she’s going to get around to having children, because totally acing the whole Olympics is obviously not enough of an achievement for a woman of27; and commentators wondered how the Today programme’s new presenter Mishal Husain would manage to get up of a morning despite having three children. Much like John Humphrys does, I suppose: by setting an alarm clock.

At least it’s good that the Director General has hired her to “redress gender imbalance”, because many more instances of Humphrys finding himself having to say, “Imagine you were a woman…” while interviewing two male experts and the poor man might die of embarrassment.

To be fair, the BBC is generously screening the women’s Euro 2013 football tournament - albeit in a minor slot on BBC3 (and not cancelling a whole week’s news for it like they do when male players get a sniff of success). But at least they remember that women tennis players exist, unlike our prime minister, who believes that Andy Murray was the first British person to win Wimbledon for 77 years.

As high-level men’s sport becomes increasingly about diva-ish behaviour - strops, sulks, walking, not walking and ever more balletic falling over - it would be so refreshing to see more of the genuine sportswomanship that we witnessed during the Olympics. It’s also worth remembering that 51 per cent of the population don’t care if sportswomen are cute and blonde and underwear-model “pretty”; we notice that they’re strong and fit and look like winners, and we’d rather aspire to that than to being the kind of girl John Inverdale can fancy.

P.S. If anyone would like to comment on this opinion by criticising my looks, Bartoli’s or Maria Miller’s, please remember to post your photo so that we can all judge whereof you speak.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Sales Consultant - Furniture

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a besp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Police are called to Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place, a busy plaza in the heart of the city  

After the Sydney Siege, would Australia be safer with American-style gun laws? The answer is simple

Neil Brennan
 

My cancer diagnosis cost me my home

Deanne Wilson
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum