So. Heard about Ines Sainz yet? Undoubtedly, you have, as her story has gone from zero to ubiquitous over the past couple of days. The attractive, blond TV Azteca broadcaster has found herself at the center of a brouhaha, after attempting to report from the sidelines–and the locker room–of the New York Jets over the weekend. Initially, she tweeted her mortification at the way the players were treating her, saying she was “dying of embarrassment.” But now she’s saying she’s “not sure” harassment even took place.
What’s happened in the meantime? Well, for one thing, just about everyone–from the New York Post piece that ran with the lede “Sexy TV sports reporter Ines Sainz slinked into last night’s Jet game in a black minidress with a plunging neckline and matching black stilettos–while insisting that she ‘felt very uncomfortable’ when lusty Jet players made salacious comments about her in their locker room after practice Saturday” to CNN‘s Joy Behar who played the “some people say” card in an attempt to address what Sainz was wearing, to, inexplicably, Law & Order‘s Richard Belzer (I’m not a sexual harassment expert, but I play one on TV??) on Good Morning America, to the Today show’s Meredith Viera–has taken the opportunity to deconstruct the outfit she wore to practice and the locker room on Saturday, which consisted of jeans and a white button down shirt. To be fair, there are fairly provocative shots of her on her website and her network’s website, and said jeans-and-shirt were on the tight side. But. Are we really still living in a world where the appropriate response to such an incident is to repeat the tired old dismissal: Just look what she was wearing! (Or what she was wearing for some publicity shots once upon a time that have nothing to do with the incident in question!) What did she expect? (To quote, I’m told, Sex & The City, you’ve just described every rapist’s legal defense.)
(And, um, am I the only one who wonders why men don’t find that offensive?? The implication that a grown man is nothing more than a mindless animal who can’t possibly be expected to control himself in the face of a pretty woman? Seriously?? The blood, it boils.)
There are other issues at play here as well. Among them, the debate over whether women should be allowed in men’s locker rooms. Well, from a journalist’s perspective, you have to have equal access to do your job. If male reporters get (have?) to report from the sweaty, naked bowels of the locker room, then women do, too. Period. (For the record, any sports reporter will tell you, there is no more disgusting place on earth. No one wants to be there. And, sorry, but while we can all appreciate the value of a scoop, we’re not exactly talking about matters of national security here. Why can’t everyone just have another hot wing, and wait the three minutes it might take for whoever the game’s big storymaker is to throw on some clothes–or even a towel, for the love–and take it outside?)
And then, there’s this. Flip on the TV news. Notice anything? One could be forgiven for assuming that appearance is a job requirement for women–as opposed to men–who work in broadcast news. Which carries us right into the most offensive aspect of the whole thing, in my humble opinion, anyway: the tightrope-walking act we all do day in, and day out. A woman must look good, just not too good. Boys will be boys, and women will be judged.
Makes me want to snap a towel.