The Washington Post

Olympic sexism from NBC

Last night, Team USA’s Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach won gold and bronze, respectively, in the long jump. They are part of a wave that, as Sally Jenkins points out, may result in U.S. women taking home twice as many medals as U.S. men this Olympics.

In the obligatory post-win interview, NBC’s Lewis Johnson asked the pair the obligatory questions (“How does it feel?” and so on). In wrapping up the interview he said: "Okay, ladies, where’s that Olympic smile?"

This comment (aka demand) fails the sniff test or any other test you might throw at it. Would Johnson have asked two men who just finished a grueling race to give him a smile? Unlikely. We’ve come a long way, yeah. But not far enough that women are not subject to a kind of scrutiny (see Gabby Douglas’s hair, Missy May Treanor’s uniform, Holly Mangold’s weight and the – shocked! shocked – water polo exposed-breast uproar) that men don’t face. It diminishes the women, their athleticism and their accomplishments. And it’s completely irrelevant to the competition. Let’s work on that.


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