ESPNW First Impression – Lackluster
If you don’t know by now, ESPN has launched a web site geared toward female sports fans and athletes. I think most of the reactions have been split with most leaning toward opposing the site for obvious reasons–women sports fans don’t want to be marginalized. And female sports are already covered less than male sports, so any sign of decreased coverage on ESPN’s regular site would not be welcome.
Personally, I think ESPN is probably the most woman-friendly sports channel and site there is. On most sites, female presence is limited to exploitation. All the bigger sports blogs and male-oriented channels feature endless T&A. I’m not against looking at women’s bodies, but sometimes that shit is too much. ESPN has one of the only sports sites that doesn’t constantly make me uncomfortable.
The best thing you can do to make a sports site woman-friendly is to stop whoring women out for page views and, also, ensure that the woman writers you hire aren’t ding bats. ESPN.com does well with the first, and could use some work on the second–though there’s definitely some female writing talent there.
Anyway, I hopped over to the ESPNW site to give it a look and my quick thoughts are:
- The site design is amateurish
- There are way too many colors on it
- The stories aren’t particularly engaging
- At one point, the phrase “you girls rock” was used which made me wince
- Once again, it’s nice to read about sports without having someone woman’s fake titties adjacent to the post
- I never realized how much I don’t give a shit about female sports until I scrolled down the site
- It feels like a blog which I really like
- The writers get a prominent author box, I think that’s a great thing
- One of the writers described NBA player Ron Artest has “having a little crazy in him.” Thought that was pretty insensitive for a woman’s site given the fact that he’s admitted to dealing with mental illness. We’re supposed to handle those subjects better than those pesky penis havers.
We have to remember that the site is just starting out, and like any site (including this one) it does take some time to find your voice. And hopefully ESPNW will find one that works. I think it may have been helpful for them to think about what the goal of the site is…because having all female writers and lots of human interest stories doesn’t really make the site any more appealing to women. And so far, the style of the site is decidedly “young white female.” I think Jemele Hill is going to be contributing to the site at some point, but if she’s writing her usual confusing fluff pieces her contributions won’t make a difference in that regard.