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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Samantha Ponder strikes out against sexism

Pregnant ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder was in the news this past week for having put the trolls who criticized her appearance in their place.

This article from titled ESPN Reporter Samantha Ponder Shuts Down Trolls Who Criticized Her Body While Pregnant struck a typical tone:

If there's one thing Samantha Ponder won't stand for it is the ridiculous hate from body shamers who are calling out her appearance during her pregnancy.

The 31-year-old sportscaster is expecting her second child with her star athlete husband, Christian Ponder. After receiving multiple nasty comments about her appearance, Ponder finally hit her limit this week, according to Us Weekly.

“Getting sexist/vulgar tweets abt my job/appearance while I’m unable to see my own feet & covered in toddler pee is somethin else I tell ya,” she tweeted Tuesday, March 7.

The barrage of hateful comments sprung up after it was announced that Ponder may be replacing Chris Berman for Sunday NFL Countdown.

“When I can Tell you Women’s Rights, you can tell me about Sports. I never carried a Child, you Never carried a Football,” one hater wrote.

Another came in hot with a simple, “no talent.”

Even though she's had to deal with a lot of unbelievable hate, she's also received sweet messages of support from fans and women who look up to her for paving the way.

“You are an inspiration for young girls like my daughter. She is now a sophomore in college dreaming of being on the sideline,” one man wrote.

Another fan added to the conversation saying, “You inspire me everyday! I really look up to you & you make me realize my dreams are totally possible!! You’re Super Woman!"

Making fun of a woman's appearance because she is pregnant is unquestionably rude, though the two critical Tweets that cited had nothing to do with Ponder's appearance. 

But the entire premise of Womanista's position that Ponder is taking a stance against sexism seems to be built on shaky ground. 

ESPN has always been a liberal organization politically, as one might expect of a channel that focuses on sports dominated by blacks. (They have advocated for more gun control, praised Colin Kaepernick's stance, sided with BLM, given Caitlyn Jenner a heroism award, threatened Chris Broussard for taking a religious view of homosexuality, and fired Curt Schilling for criticizing radical Islam.)

So, one would think they would also be horrified by the sexism implicit in judging women by their looks. After all, they have proven reliably politically correct on every other issue.

But Google "ESPN babes" and you'll come across this article. (I had the feeling that the kind of people who are ESPN fans would use the word "babes" to refer to women.) Take a look at their selection of female sportscasters and judge for yourself what the most important prerequisite is for being a female sportscaster at liberal ESPN seems to be.

Does anyone doubt that Ponder's looks were central to why she was hired in the first place? Here's Samantha:

If you Google-image Samantha Ponder, you won't find a single shot -- not even in her "informal" at home shots -- where her hair, eyebrows, eye makeup, and lipstick have not been done up perfectly.

(By the way, does it not seem that an argument's credibility these days is in inverse proportion to the number of times it relies on using the word "hate?" The article uses either "hate" or "hateful" four separate times in their brief, eleven sentence article.)

It's not as if ESPN is an outlier here. All MSM organizations take politically correct positions, and rail against sexism in tones of horrified outrage whenever the issue arises. But when it comes to whom they hire as on camera talent, well, looks are paramount.

When it comes to the dramas they air, it's the same story: the female romantic interest is, almost always, a beauty. And when it comes to the commercials they run, the spokesmodels are also almost always beauties.  

So doesn't that make their stance against those horrible sexists who would judge a woman by her looks just a little bit hypocritical? 

Now, just to be clear: I'm not defending the trolls who razzed Ponder for her appearance. They are, undoubtedly, idiots. (The fact that they watch ESPN in the first place is probably further evidence of that.)

And Ponder herself is not some card-carrying third-wave feminist; she's just a cute girl trying to make her way in the world and doing the best she can for herself. It's natural enough for anyone who's been insulted to lash back. It was the media, more than her, who politicized this incident.

But let's also be clear about exactly where Samantha Ponder stands in the grand scheme of things: she is not a victim of sexism.

She is its beneficiary.


Jokah Macpherson said...

"The 31-year-old sportscaster is expecting her second child with her star athlete husband, Christian Ponder."

The threshold for "star athlete" is pretty low these days if a guy with four mediocre seasons who hasn't taken a snap since 2014 qualifies.

Anyways, I was under the impression that famous people generally get inoculated against criticism because they receive so much of it and gradually realize it's not the end of the world if some random person they don't know doesn't like them or disagrees with them. I mean, do you get rattled or upset when a commenter makes a post saying your blog sucks and you're a terrible person?

John Craig said...

Jokah --
I guess it's sorta like being a "porn star" these days.

Yes, you'd think they'd develop some immunity over time, but evidently not. Who knows how she reacted personally, though, maybe it didn't affect her that much and a bigger deal was made over her Tweeted retorts than had to be.

Ha, I've long since developed immunity (insensitivity?) regarding this blog. This post alone --

-- would pretty much have provided a complete dose of antivenin. It now has 588 comments; roughly two-fifths of them are my replies, but of the 350 or so incoming, I'd say at least 200 either tell me I'm a moron who knows nothing about Aspergers, or that I'm an Aspie myself, or that I'm a horrible person.

Anonymous said...

Yet another case where homely women led the way, and got "muscled" out by pretty women. Back in the day when the phrase female sports-caster sounded bizarre, the trailblazer was Suzyn Waldman:

I always suspected Suzyn of being, well...enough said. Anyway, no question that Suzyn knew her shit. She had to. She didn't look like Samantha Ponder.

Trump not impeached yet!

John Craig said...

Puzzled --
You're right: if woman's suffrage were a cause today, it would be led not by Susan B. Anthony but by Angelina Jolie, or someone of that ilk.

I'm sure you're right about Waldman, when someone is 70 and the only thing about them in the "Personal life" section of Wikipedia is that they live in Croton-on-Hudson, it usually means.....what you're saying.

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of Samantha Ponder (her husband, yes, briefly), so I looked her up. She graduated from a Christian college. She probably still thinks of herself as a good Christian girl. I think it's kinda sad that a nice Christian girl poses nearly nude. She's been seduced by the culture and goes through all sorts of mental contrivances to justify her immodest behavior.

And what about those teeny bikini shots, with a triangle of material over their pubis? It reminds me of what you once wrote about f*ck and sh*t. Just write the damned words. I say: just pose nude. Who are you kidding?


John Craig said...

Puzzled --
I'd never heard of her either, before this past week. I doubt she's any sort of card-carrying feminist; it's more the media that blew this whole scenario up into a big political deal about feminism. She's just as you describe, a girl from a strongly Christian background who Tweeted back at the people who insulted her. She's probably not too smart, and my guess is she probably doesn't even understand football all that well, but that viewers found her appealing because of her looks and her probable "perkiness."

mark said...

It seems to me that ESPN has become more look conscience in the last few years. There seems to be more good looking females on the air since Fox started FSN1 and people can watch the NFL network. Hopefully, artificial intelligence will improve to the point that it can answer my conjecture and other less important questions about global warming and such. I am pro babe because most of the time these woman aren't replacing bright, interesting guys. Knowledgeable, but aside from a few stathead baseball guys not that interesting. Also, the babes at least, seem to do their homework. People don't give them the benefit of the doubt so they better. Now if I was king, I would ship all the news talk show babes to the football fields. Ann Coulter is the only one I find funny and the women on these shows really make them more boring.

John Craig said...

Mark --
I wonder about the extent to which any of the on camera people -- men or women -- really know their stuff and how much of the stuff they say, or the questions they ask, are fed to them by offscreen people. (They ARE wearing those earphones for a reason.)

I can understand the impetus behind having pretty women onscreen, even on political talk shows. And some of them actually strike me as being pretty bright, at least as bright as some of the men who appear on these shows. Of all the talking heads on political programming, I have yet to see a woman as bright as Charles Krauthammer (whose desire for more US involvement in the Mideast I usually disagree with), or George Will (who seems to have become the embodiment of cuckservatism recently, but whose IQ is undeniable), or Pat Buchanan (who's always great).

Though who knows, maybe ann Coulter is close. I agree with you, she IS funny and bright and original. Who knows, maybe she IS as smart as the guys I just mentioned. They're certainly all above my level, so I can't really judge.

Jokah Macpherson said...

It would make for an interesting TV show to wage a battle of the sexes in sports trivia. I don't think there is any doubt that men on average know far more sports trivia than women and I suspect they also know more at the right tail of the distribution. The blogger Audacious Epigone has pointed out that for years men have consistently outperformed women on Pew Research's news and current events questionnaire, so this advantage extends to non-sports trivia domains as well.

I was actually hitting on a girl this afternoon at a sports bar and she brought up the fact she finds it weird that all of her male co-workers can remember so many facts and narratives about sports. I told her it's not something men really think about, it just sort of happens naturally, like breathing.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
C'mon, cut to the chase: how did you end up doing with the girl?

I agree completely about the trivia stuff. I regularly "play" Jeopardy with my family when it's on TV, and one of the patterns I've noticed is that men seem to win on that showboat 3/4's of the time. (That's just a ballpark estimate, but it's probably not far off, and if I had to guess, I'd say it's low.)

And yes, as far as the right tail of that distribution, it's been well documented that as far as IQ goes, there are far more men at both left and right tails than there are women.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Got a number with strong rapport; nothing exactly to brag about but as an extreme late bloomer when it comes to this sort of stuff I was pleased.

John Craig said...

Joakh --
Glad to hear it. All that early frustration is probably what forced you to get a sense of humor.

(I suspect I got my own, what there is of it, the same way.)

Anonymous said...

"(By the way, does it not seem that an argument's credibility these days is in inverse proportion to the number of times it relies on using the word "hate?" The article uses either "hate" or "hateful" four separate times in their brief, eleven sentence article.)"

my recent similar note is how on NPR and liberal cable all THE WORST PEOPLE burble on about "our democracy" lately...these are the same people who would swap out democracy for authoritarian communism at the very first opportunity...the phrase "our democracy" in this early-Trump-era is a total badge of wickedness among the talking-points chatterati, I find myself waiting to hear it and then "DING DING DING!" heehee


John Craig said...

You listen to NPR?? You must hate-listen to it.

Yes, the Left's definition of "democracy" is basically a country which is one big "safe space" where only politically correct thought is allowed to be voiced.