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September 15, 2010

It Doesn't Matter What Ines Sainz Was Wearing

Unlike my evil slutty partner-in-crime, I rarely pay any attention to what the Jets (or any other sports team) are doing... so I wasn't immediately aware of the allegations of sexual harassment against the team until I saw a friend's posting on Facebook. (Good old facebook, always there to bait me into drama.)

The friend (a guy) posted a link to this article on his page. The article, for those of you not yet familiar with the story, explained that the New York Jets and the NFL are investigating possible harassment by team players and coaches against female reporter Ines Sainz (TV Azteca). Allegedly the players "hooted and hollered", catcalled and whistled at Sainz as she entered their locker room. They also allegedly purposely overthrew passes during practice so they would land near her.

I think it's worth noting that Sainz herself did not make the allegations of harassment. The incident was reported by the AWSM after Sainz tweeted that she was embarrassed. When asked if she considered the players' behavior to be harassment, Sainz said that was up to the NFL to make that judgment. She also said that the Jets owner, Woody Johnson, and assured her that an incident like this should not happen again, so she considers the matter settled. Just for the record, since a lot of people have been complaining about how she's "making a big deal out of it" when really, she's not. Truth be told, she should have made more of a big deal in my opinion and even if she doesn't care about what happened, it still should never have happened and should never happen again.

It's also worth noting that while many have suggested or implied that Sainz is a bimbo with no brains and only got her job by exploiting her sexuality, she actually has a law degree and a masters degree in tax law. She's also a nine-year veteran of sideline reporting. This doesn't matter, because her level of education or intelligence has nothing to do with whether she is entitled to a respectful work environment. I just felt like mentioning that because too many people assume that because she's pretty and has a nice body then she clearly must be an idiot who only got where she is today because of her tits and ass.

I was immediately pissed by the first comment on the post, by one of the guy's friends, and the back-and-forth that later occurred. (Note: I'm not going to use real names here, obviously, because I'm not an asshole and because I don't want to out myself as well, myself. So please excuse the simplistic - although highly accurate - labels I have given the participants of this "conversation".)

Jets Fan loljets


The New York Jets and the National Football League are investigating possible harassment by team players and coaches against a female reporter. 
Slut-Shamer ya know, this shit pissed me off. Why bother putting women in that situation? And if you want to work with jocks, expect to have them hootin and hollerin' if you are dressed like a skank, if she was dressed like the picture.
WOW. So many things wrong with that first comment. So many things. (The worst, possibly, is that it was written by a woman. Yes, a woman said these things. Unreal.) Let me list just what is so so wrong about this one short little comment.

  • Why bother putting women in that situation?
Hm, maybe because THAT'S THEIR JOBS? Ines Sainz is a reporter and she was in "that situation" to report on the Jets. Is she implying that women shouldn't be sports reporters? Well, there are plenty of other instances where a woman might be harassed, so should women not be reporters of any kind? You know, I sometimes get harassed just walking down the street... should I just never ever leave the house so as not to put myself in "that situation"?
  • If you want to work with jocks
So, jocks are held to a lower standard than every other man on earth? Is that true? If you worked with accountants or professors or doctors or plumbers or police officers or letter carriers and they were whistling and catcalling at you while you were just trying to do your job, you'd have a right to be pissed... but athletes get a free pass to be assholes?
  • expect to have them hootin and hollerin' if you are dressed like a skank
Ah lovely. Isn't it just super awesome when a woman slut-shames another woman? So, if you are "dressed like a skank" then you deserve to be treated shitty. (And who decides what it means to be "dressed like a skank" anyway?) Sorry, but no, it doesn't matter how you are dressed... You do not lose your rights the shorter or tighter your clothes get.
  • if she was dressed like the picture
This is the photograph that was included in that particular article:

That doesn't look that skanky to me. It looks like she's wearing jeans and a tank top, which is pretty much what half of the women in the U.S. are probably wearing right now. Note that this is not the actual outfit she was wearing while she was allegedly harassed (according to Sainz she was dressed slightly more conservatively than in that photo) but even if it was IT WOULDN'T MATTER. I don't care if she was in a bikini - it still doesn't give them a right to harass her.

The original poster responded to her comment with something that was... well, not perfect, but a lot better than what she said.  I don't expect a lot of guys to get what harassment is and why it isn't okay. I just don't. It'd be nice if they did (and I certainly make every effort to 'educate' them on the subject when possible) but realistically not every Jets fan I know is going to be especially well versed on the subject.
Jets Fan true, but they were on the clock. if some woman showed up to my office dressed like a harlot and i made a comment, id get fired
Obviously I disagree with his "true" because NOTHING that the Slut-Shamer commenter said was true. (I assume he meant that it was true that a. she was dressed like a skank and b. jocks are more likely to hoot-and-holler at a skank than most other guys). But he made a good point - sort of - about the fact that they were on the clock. In almost any other profession, that kind of behavior would not be allowed or condoned, so why should the Jets get a free pass?

On the other hand, I disagree with the implication that if they were not on the clock it would somehow be okay. Perhaps it would not be the immediate concern of the NFL and rather, but harassment is harassment whenever and whereever it occurs, not just if it's in the workplace.
Slut-Shamer yes, that is true too... certainly think the coach should be reprimanded as well... but if she was dressed like that, she should be reprimanded as well for not being very professional. Course, don't know that she was... but you get the picture.
Ah, so now she admits that the team was wrong - and the coaches for participating/not stopping the behavior - but it's still Sainz's fault in her mind. Why should Sainz be reprimanded? Even if you make the point that her outfit was somehow inappropriate or unprofessional (I do NOT agree that it was), there is no rule that she has to dress a certain in order to report on the Jets. There is also no rule that suggests that if she dresses a certain way then she should expect to be harassed... so she certainly should not be reprimanded for being harassed. Talk about victim-blaming.

At that point I couldn't take it anymore and I had to comment:
Evil Slut WOW, so it's okay to harass a woman as long as she's dressed like a skank? She's wearings jeans and a tank top, it's not like she's in lingerie. This is the same kind of logic that blames rape victims for 'asking for it'. I also question whether all they were doing is 'hooting and hollering' - which by the way, wasn't a direct quote from the reporter, but from the New York Post, which isn't exactly known for journalistic integrity
Jets Fan it really depends what was said as harassment and catcalling are 2 entirely different things. if the players were on the clock, they should have been able to keep their peckers in the pants and their comments to themselves altogether, imo.
that said, this reporter does have a history of whoring it up on the sidelines. does that give the players an excuse to make comments? of course not...as an aside, if she wants to ever be taken seriously, she should think twice about wearing belly shirts and like hot pants to conduct interviews.
Sigh. And so much wrong with that comment.
  • it really depends what was said as harassment and catcalling are 2 entirely different things.
No, they're not. They're not even remotely different things. Catcalling is a form of harassment, period.
  • if the players were on the clock, they should have been able to keep their peckers in the pants and their comments to themselves altogether, imo.
Yes. And they should've been able to d othat if they were off the clock too.
  • that said, this reporter does have a history of whoring it up on the sidelines. does that give the players an excuse to make comments? of course not... 
And... fuck you. I don't really know Ines Sainz's full "history" but I'm annoyed by the implication that she's "whoring it up" because even if she was a sex worker (I'm sure she's not) that phrase would still be offensive. Based on what I've seen of Sainz on the Internet, I'm pretty sure his description of her "whoring it up" only means that sometimes she wears clothing that can be considered sexy. Now here's the real question, if that doesn't give the players an excuse to make comments then WHY EVEN BRING IT UP AT ALL unless you're implying that it somehow does make a difference?
  • as an aside, if she wants to ever be taken seriously, she should think twice about wearing belly shirts and like hot pants to conduct interviews.
Again, slut-shaming comments on her outfits. I won't claim that I think belly shirts and hot pants are the most professional outfits in the world... but IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't give people free license to harass her. Her level of professionalism has nothing to do with her right to not be harassed. It's also worth noting that she is a reporter from a Mexican television network. If you look at a lot of the shows on that station, you'll see that Sainz isn't exactly the stand-out when it comes to attire.

Also, I googled Sainz and I didn't see too many photographs of her in belly shirts and hot pants... at least not at sporting events. Yes, there are a few scantily clad photos of her out there in the land of the Internets, but that is because she's not just a reporter. She's also a model (and a former Miss Spain). But still... WHO CARES?
Evil Slut I just object to to the claim that the outfit in the photo is 'skank'-like, or that your outfit somehow takes away your rights to not be treated like shit while you're doing your job. That doesn't mean I think hot pants are appropriate business attire; I just think harassment is still harassment and isn't okay, regardless of whether you 'deserved' it. 
PS: Catcalling and harassment aren't different things. Catcalling is a form of harassment and as a woman who has walked down the streets of NYC in 'appropriate' clothing, it doesn't feel good. 
Jets Fan  fwiw, im pretty sure the photo attached to article is a stock image and wasnt taken when she was allegedly harassed. if you google image her, you'll see that the above outfit is actually 'conservative' by her standards.
i also dont interpret... a whistle as 'harassment.' although, im not a woman and have never been whistled at. period :-(
i agree with everything else you said, though. harassment is never ok in my book, and that goes double for a bunch of oafs who are actually run through classes on that kind of stuff. they should know better. 
And... wrong again. Whistling is harassment. And what the Jets were doing in Sainz's presence went far beyond whistling anyway.

He's correct in that the photograph attached to the article wasn't from the day she allegedly harassed. (I didn't think it was, I was simply responding to Slut-Shamer's comments that the outfit in the photo was skanky and if she was dressed like that she deserved to be harassed.) But he's flat out wrong on the fact that the outfit in the photograph is "conservative by her standards" and he's wrong in his implication that she was wearing something less conservative on the day that the harassment allegedly occurred. (Sainz herself has stated that she was dressed appropriately that day in jeans and a button-up blouse.) In fact, I haven't seen a single photo of her news reporting in anything more skimpy than jeans and a tank top or halter top. Very often I've seen her wearing a more conservative shirt than a tank top, so I don't know where all this skanky-this and whore-that bullshit is coming from. 

And just to prove my point (even though it doesn't actually matter) here is an assortment of outfits worn by Sainz that are more "conservative" than the one from the Facebook link:

She's not exactly dressed like a nun and she does have plenty of outfits that are more revealing that these, but still, his description was by far an exaggeration. It sure is easier to slut-shame someone and call her a whore for the way she dresses when you completely exaggerate the way she actually dresses.

In fact, I think the real issue here for these slut-shamers isn't even that she dresses too provocatively. It's not her clothing; it's her body. Sainz has an amazing and sexy body and she doesn't feel the need to cover it up in turtlenecks or hide it in baggy clothes. Another woman wearing similar outfits and you wouldn't even bat an eye. That's also not fair because not only is Sainz being victim-blamed based on the way she dresses, but it's also based on the way she is built which is not only sexist and wrong, but also an unfair double standard.  
Slut-Shamer It isn't proper to harass someone. But do as [Jets Fan] did and google the girl. I'm not sure what she expects dressing in jeans like that. It simply isn't professional and doesn't really portray wanting to be taken seriously in my opinion. Which means beans.
Yeah that would be great advice if I hadn't actually googled "the girl" (or, you know, woman, seeing as she's in her 30s and a marriage mother of three). But I did google her and I still don't have a problem with her outfits. AND EVEN IF I DID, it has nothing to do with whether or not she was harassed.  
Evil Slut There's being taken seriously & then there's being harassed. Two totally separate issues. Her so-called lack of appropriate attire doesn't make it ok for the team to harass her. I don't even see how one thing is related to the other unless you're making the argument that women give up their rights the shorter their hemline gets.
And then a new player got involved:
Bystander ex-Ms. Spain + big men with high levels of testosterone = boyhood pranks like throwing the ball too far in her direction (see: frisbee on beach). Professional..no. Harassment...no. Asking for it? Wah.
Ah. It's just boyhood pranks. Okay, again, so much wrong here.

1. These aren't boys, these are grown men who like Jets Fan pointed out are specifically trained on how to handle interacting with other adults who happen to be female.

2. These aren't boyhood pranks, it's harassment. Giving it a cutesy name doesn't negate what it really is.

3. These so-called boyhood pranks were not limited to throwing the ball too far in her direction. Read any single article on the subject and you'll see that that was the least of what the Jets players were doing.

4. "Harassment... no". How about YES. Harassment? Yes. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't get to decide what is and isn't harassment. Just because you don't object to someone's behavior doesn't matter... it's the opinion of the woman being harassed and the opinion of the organization within which the harassment took place.

5. Not sure what "Asking for it? Wah" is supposed to mean. He should have written "Asking for it? No" because no one asks to be harassed, period.
Evil Slut I can't comment on the specific story if it was harassment, because I wasn`t there... but my point was & still is that a woman's outfit doesn't take away her rights. I don't expect you guys to get why 'boyish pranks' can sometimes feel like harassment. Today on my 10 min walk from my office to the train I got SIX unsolicited comments & that's when I'm dressed for work with no makeup on. When I'm dressed to go out I get 10 or more. Not fun & not my fault. But you are guys, you wouldn't get it. What I really hate to see is women slut-shaming other women, because they really should know better.
Dumb Asshole Google
Evil Slut Google what?
Dumb Asshole Ogle
Dumb Asshole get it?
Idiots. All of them.

Speaking of idiots... the way the media has been handling this story isn't any better. Take a look at a sampling of titles about this incident (and try to avoid smashing your computer to the ground in anger):

Since some people obviously don't get it, here's a refresher course for you all: What Is Sexual Harassment?

And... just in case anyone still thinks that the way a woman dresses means she is "asking for it" (it being harassment or rape or sex or whatever):


ceirdwenfc said...

Just wanted to add that conservative radio host, Heidi Harris had some surprising things to say about this on the Ed Show on MSNBC. I was surprised with what I considered her sexist comments.

LS said...

As usual, I find I agree with everything posted. Your comments are insightful, and cut to the heart of the matter. The fact that anybody is even curious about was a sexual harassment victim was wearing is proof positive that we've got a fucking long way to go.

There was, however, one comment you made which I really do disagree with:

"Just because you don't object to someone's behavior doesn't matter... it's the opinion of the woman being harassed and the opinion of the organization within which the harassment took place."

You didn't elaborate much on this point, so I don't want to put words in your mouth. However, I've heard similar sentiments expressed in the past, and I find this to be a deeply troubling idea.

We cannot ever fall into the mental trap of letting an individual define the terms of what is and isn't sexual harassment, simply because they're the "victim."

We can't do that, because there are people who seek attention, there are people with persecution complexes. We should never dismiss someone's claims of sexual harassment out of hand, but we also can't let a person dictate to the world what it means to sexually harass them.

That said, it CERTAINLY sounds like sexual harassment took place here, and we should take that seriously.

I also feel I must point out that, in this case, the victim considers the matter settled. So if we WERE letting her define what sexual harassment means, then we shouldn't be talking about this at all.

If anybody feels I'm wrong about this, and can tell me why, I would appreciate it.

sexgenderbody said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Harassment | rape | assault | threats | demeaning language | insults - are all the sole responsibility of the perpetrator. Period.

I heard this story and I immediately thought that this story is a lightning rod topic that will elicit sexist comments from a lot of people that normally hide their sexism - in a wave of chuckles, tut-tut's and diatribes about the "merits" of dressing "appropriately".

Thanks for saying this and addressing it.

(P.S. *this* would be a good one)

Anonymous said...

LS: Good point to address. We should've perhaps been more clearer.

That comment was in response to the guy who said "Harassment... no" and was meant to just point out that HIS opinion doesn't matter in this case. He wasn't there, he wasn't a witness, he wasn't harassed, he wasn't one of the alleged harassers, he has no affiliation or grounds to declare that what went down wasn't harrassment.

He may not object to what went down in that locker room, but lucky for the rest of us, whether or not he objects has little bearing on the decision as to whether it was or wasn't harassment. That's not to say that other elements are not important or less important or more important than others... but just that his opinion is worth nothing. :)

LS said...

Thank you for clarifying.