The words that Cam Newton spoke to Jourdan Rodrique in response to her question about one of his touchdown passes were egregious. His words showed a level of thoughtlessness and dismissiveness that will not be tolerated in this era of political correctness. They showed a misogynistic lack of respect for women that is rarely witnessed outside of the locker room. And ultimately, Cam Newton’s words showed his ignorance. The face of a NFL franchise can not speak in condescending tones to women. And, every man who works in a public forum should be able to express clearly that he respects women as his equals. But his words were just as telling of what we have done as a society as they are of his beliefs.
Socially, we have objectified and exploited women indiscriminately. We use the bodies of the fairer sex to sell every product on the market, and they are canvased next to products like pretty background pieces instead of being shown as complex human beings. They are exploited so often that people are surprised when women perform the duties of their job appropriately like Jourdan Rodrique did at the Panthers’ postgame press conference. We do not ask their opinions. Women are only there to accentuate the opinions of men in a public forum. They are dehumanized in marketing. And in congruence with that ideal, in sports, women are placed into hosting positions for aesthetics instead of their work experience. Cam Newton ignorantly brought to surface two real matters of contention with his passively insulting comments. One, there is no place for boorish attitudes towards women in today’s National Football League and the common workplace. And two, a significant amount of the women, specifically in the sports world, have been hired for reasons other than their acuity at sports trivia.
This is not an argument against the inclusion of women in sports like football. There are plenty of qualified women who can talk X’s and O’s like old high school coaches. However, those women are not selected to be sports anchors. Sex has inundated every part of our lives, and it is most obvious in the media representations of women. Cleavage sells cars, thin waistlines sell clothes, and a woman with a pretty smile is present in every commercial. Advertisers use the female body to move products, and sports conglomerates use them to sell their teams and their revenue streams. The women who sit at the desk with the former athletes and coaches talking sports are inevitably young, pretty women with minimal experience in the sports that they were covering. Every sports station, particularly those showing football and basketball, has its requisite pretty female anchor hosting and narrating the show between male opinions on the selected sports subjects. We have been effectively manipulated into believing that pretty women have no opinions about sports, but that they also must be present in the midst of any conversation about sports. And, when one of those pretty faces actually has a valid opinion about the subject matter, it is Earth-shattering. Cam Newton made a stupid mistake with his ignorant comments, but his blunder points to system that exploits knowingly exploits women. Cam should not have said that a woman talking about routes is weird. But, his experience of hearing a woman questioning football strategy at that podium should not have been out of the ordinary either. More qualified women should be placed into those positions in place of pretty ones, because a woman’s worth should not be tied solely to her appearance.