To the man in the stands at the high school girls basketball game I covered tonight: You had no right to shout out loud to a referee that a player “outweighs her by 50 pounds!”
People wonder where the cultural attitude of body shaming and “perfect figure” ideals come from – from what I had to listen to tonight, it starts in the home. Or in the community. These are high school girls, for God’s sake! On top of everything else a teenager has to deal with, listening to an adult comment on her weight is not one of them.
Gloria Steinem said it best when she asked me – in front of an audience of 3,000 people – about being a sports reporter. Then, she said to me, “That is so wonderful. Sports are fantastic for girls. They teach us that women’s bodies are instruments, not objects.”
That teenage girl you made that foul comment about? She is not an object. She is a basketball player, and that court is her sanctuary, her arena. You had no reason to single her out because she’s playing a sport she’s good at, one she grew up with, one that likely defines a big part of who she is.
And I hope to God that she didn’t hear you.
Hell, I’d hate to hear what you have to say about the women in your office. In your community. Or, worse, in your family.
Oh, yeah, and that ref you yelled at isn’t going to change his mind.