Sports Writer Speaks Against Objectification of Women By…Comparing Them to Hookers

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Nice try, but…

Sports writer Jeff Pearlman doesn’t think female journalists should be objectified. Neither do we. However, he had funny way of expressing this. In the above tweet, he commented on the wardrobes of the hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered. Check out those slutty, slutty outfits. Skirts! And their arms are showing! Have. They. No. SHAME?! /hopefully obvious sarcasm. When someone criticized his word choice, he tried defending it at first:

This now-deleted tweet was a problem for a number of reasons:

  1. These women likely had some say in their clothing. You don’t get to be the host of a show on a major cable news network without getting to have some say in their wardrobe. Yes, media in general is unfair to women, and women are then forced to consider their looks in a way that men don’t have to. However, it isn’t as if they are mere puppets either. If you’re going to praise a woman’s “professionalism,” you might want to give her credit and assume she has at least some agency at that level and knows how to dress herself.
  2. Their outfits weren’t particularly scanty. Seriously, they were wearing dresses that would’ve been appropriate at any business meeting. The fact that this dude gets hot and bothered by the mere sight of a woman’s arms and legs shouldn’t be held against them. It says more about Pearlman than it does about those hosts.
  3. We need to stop using “prostitute” or “slutty” as a synonym for “bad” or “incompetent” or “worthless.” You can’t talk about women’s worth while simultaneously judging which “types” of women “deserve” respect over others. If you think women deserve respect as human beings, then you don’t get to divide them up into “good” women and “bad” women because of what they choose to do with their bodies, sexually or otherwise. Especially when men can sleep with whoever they want and not get judged in the same way. It’d be really great if we could stop placing a value judgement on women’s sexual choices, thanks. Calling a woman a prostitute should not be an insult, it should be a factual statement of a job description. And speaking of…
  4. Let’s stop demeaning sex workers, shall we? Interesting that people have no problem judging sex workers, but don’t criticize those that patronize sex workers in the same way. The word “prostitute” shouldn’t be any more insulting than “maid” or “baker” or “teacher.” It’s bad enough that the United States simultaneously sells sex constantly while also having huge hang-ups and judgments about it. It’s worse that these judgments disproportionately affect women’s lives negatively. If you really care about women, pitting them against each other by upholding one version of competent womanhood as “correct” while disparaging another is hurtful.  It’s what has forced women to compete with each other rather than work together for centuries. These days, a version of feminism in which women support each other and build each other up seems to be more in style. However, the residual effects of the way women are pit against each other are still there. We see it in the film industry, where high-level women are reluctant to mentor up-and-coming female talent, for example. And we see it, because people like Pearlman continue to perpetuate a false dichotomy.

Pearlman later deleted the tweet, saying:

I’d be more forgiving of the tweet and chalk it up to poor wording if it weren’t for this tweet from back in 2013:

Serious question: Does Jeff Pearlman ever look at women and girls and not immediately think of sex or sex work?

(via Mediaite, featured image via screencap)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.