Bleacher Bits: Who's hottest? Who Cares?!
When you become a sports editor, your email address instantly becomes a prime target for a wide range of national organizations promoting what they think people need to know from the world of sports.
Some of the information is informative and useful and points me in the direction of a thought-provoking issue. Some is offensive, useless dreck I wouldn't use to clean gum off the bottom of my shoe.
But even that sort of garbage can be used to make a point.
The most recent example of pure email drivel came recently with a subject line that read, "NEW NATIONAL SURVEY: Which WNBA star ranks as the league's hottest player?"
No, high scoring and rebounding statistics were not essential qualities when composing the list.
Do we really need a "national media survey" to rank female basketball players according to their physical attributes?
If you have a daughter, or even if you don't, it should come as no surprise that many females suffer from a poor body image. The last thing a girl or a woman needs when trying to score points in a sporting activity is to be worried that she isn't scoring any points on some Neanderthal hotness survey.
In an article titled, "Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?" by Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross, she states that 80 percent of women in the United States are dissatisfied with their appearance. The doctor says more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders.
It begins early, as the article cites a number of startling statistics. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81 percent of 10-year olds are afraid of being fat. By adolescence, studies show that young people are receiving an estimated 5,260 "attractiveness messages" per year from network television commercials alone.
You're not going to read the name of the organization that sent me the email or any of the results here; this is a newspaper, and I take my position as a media professional seriously.
We cover a wide variety of girls high school sports, and I'm not ashamed to admit that on every team we cover, there is at least one player whose athletic skills would have put me to shame even on my best younger days. There is a lot of athletic talent out there to appreciate.
It's time the media opens its collective eyes and sees how potentially damaging polls of this type can be.
Let's focus on the action on the court or the ballfield and stick to using the term "hot" to refer to a girl shooting 10 of 14 from the floor — I don't care how she looks.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.