Like scores of other women who have dared spoken in public, Chicago radio host Julie DiCaro has been getting complaints about her voice on her show 670 The Score.
In an article for the New York Times, DiCaro reveals that many men write in to tell her that they turn to get sports to “get away” from women, and the rest send messages about her tone, accent, and pitch as a reason for why they can’t bear her presence in that domain.
She brings up the recent case of Beth Mowins, who became the first woman to call a game on Monday Night Football this month. Following Mowins’s debut, social media was filled with criticism of her voice. DiCaro interviewed other women reporters, like Andrea Kramer, who has long covered the NFL:
“I have no doubt that ‘hating the sound of her voice’ is code for ‘I hate that there was a woman announcing football,’” Kremer told me.
The whining was neither surprising nor accurate, Kremer said: “One of the many positives about Beth doing the game, in addition to her being a top-notch, seasoned broadcaster, is that she has a great voice that cuts through all the ambient noise in the stadium. Whether you’re in the booth or on the field, you need a resonant voice that can be audible. The voice is like an instrument, and Beth is blessed with some great pipes.”
Another example that came to DiCaro’s mind was ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, who is well-known for both the quality of her work and as a target for online harassment. Andrew Dzurisin, an assistant professor of sociology at Middlesex County College, connected the vitriol Mendoza often faces to the toxicity of sports culture in general, and the hostility around both gender and race:
“Mendoza to me is an example of ‘new’ baseball intersecting with the gender and even ethnicity,” Dzurisin said. “Most of her commentary revolves around analytics. Baseball audiences also skew older, so male viewership is more likely to embrace traditional gender norms that do not include female baseball analysts. The fact that she is Hispanic also irks men, as they see a sport of the ‘white man’ until Jackie Robinson now becoming increasingly Hispanic.”
But if it’s not your voice, it’s always something:
“As women in high-profile sports broadcasting jobs, we get criticized from head, and hair, to toe,” Kremer said. “We are in a subjective business, and the haters are always going to find something they don’t like about us because they don’t want us there.”
You should read the article here to learn more about what it’s like to be a woman sportscaster, and for some of the sick burns DiCaro puts on her male coworkers in her field.