Concerned with an uptick journalistic sartorial sloppiness, before the 2012 baseball season began, a mixed gender panel of experts crafted a new dress code for reporters who talk to players in Major League locker rooms. This sounds like a pretty good idea on its surface — after all, who doesn't love rules about sleeve length!? — but all of the guidelines the panel came up with seem to be less concerned with untucked, messy looking shirts and more concerned with plunging necklines and soaring hemlines. In other words, the locker room dress code is actually more of an attempt from the league to rein in the rampant sluttiness among female sports journalists.
The League was cognizant of possible charges of sexism when they put the code together, which is why they included a woman on the panel behind the policy. But just because a vagina was present doesn't mean that the end product didn't turn out a little dickish. The new code addresses nearly exclusively wardrobe features found on women's clothing, banning such non-gender neutral staples as short shorts, sheer fabrics, tank tops, one shoulder tops, and strapless tops and dresses. For women who work in warm weather environments covering a sport that plays right through triple digit temperatures, being barred from going sleeveless often means filling the undersides of sleeves with unladylike pit stains.
Personal comfort aside, as ESPNw reports, the code was received by many women in the sports journalism community as a bit of a slap in the face. They're reporting from within the ultimate boys' club, often facing sexism and incredulity about their professionalism at every level of their careers. Some women are responding by grumbling — anonymously — to ESPNw about the whole thing feels kind of patronizing. While scantily clad female sports reporters have raised eyebrows in the NFL, in the MLB, a lady-professionalism-focused dress code is a solution in search of a problem, they argue. One female reporter who often covers baseball just began ignoring the code midseason and says she's faced no consequences, but others say they're afraid to do anything but comply, at the risk of coming across like whining harpies. Naturally, MLB reports that no women have complained about the code.
You know, I understand a place of business wanting its employees or visitors to dress professionally. I do. And refraining from wearing Daisy Dukes to your job is just common sense. But mandating that female reporters wear sleeves during the summer? If the First Lady can wear it without looking like a strumpet, it should be okay to wear in a room full of sweaty post game dongs.