Feminist Wednesday: The First Female Permanent Referee in the NFL?
Posted August 21, 2013on:
What have we here, Widdershins? A wimminz on the football field, ruling over men who outweigh her by 200 pounds? Say it ain’t so!
Sarah Thomas aspires to become the first female referee officiating in the National Football League. She’ll be putting her skills to the test on Friday, trying out as an NFL line ref during the preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders.
As many of you know, I am not a football fan; but this is a game I will not miss!
Ms. Thomas is feeling the pressure of being “the first,” using a Hillaryism to describe her role.
“I know a lot of females are maybe inspired that there’s a gender-barrier about to be broken,” Thomas told CBS News. “But I never set out to shatter the glass ceiling.”
But you are, Sarah, you are.
Why are there no females in the referee pool now? The NFL says it’s not because of sexism. Heavens, no!
In the NFL officiating meritocracy, Thomas will be held to the same standards as her male counterparts when she takes to the field on Friday to prove herself, according to VP of officiating Dean Blandino. “She’s here for a reason,” he told CBS. “We’re looking for the best officials. So she can either do it or she can’t do it, whether she’s male or female. And that’s ultimately going to be the deciding factor.” Blandino added, “I’d say, if she keeps doing what she’s done, [her odds] are pretty good.”
I know that my husband, who is the true football fan, constantly rants about the refs and the ‘meritocracy’ they represent. “They’re orthodontists! They’re not full-time!” he complains. And it’s true, they do make some horrible mistakes sometimes. So maybe the hiring of a wimminz will actually raise the bar a bit…although I have to wonder if she will be making 77% of what her male counterparts make. After the strike last year, perhaps the NFL is looking to cut costs?
More about Sarah: She is not, in fact, an orthodontist. She’s a pharmaceutical sales rep! Neener neener, hubby. And, she was already the first woman to work in a big 10 stadium. She wore referee stripes when she was pregnant, and spent a lot of her time in high school and college playing basketball. In 2014, she has a shot at permanent NFL refereedom, if she does well in pre-season and a spot opens up in the roster.
I salute Sarah Thomas and her desire to do what she loves, no matter the cost (or paycheck). Let’s hope they don’t put her in a pink uniform!
Why do I say that? Well, tonight at the office, I was shown a pen from a “Women in IT” event. What color was it? Pink! Because it’s 1950, apparently. And, there are grips on the pen so that our delicate fingers can latch on to that
phallic symbol pen and never let go. Sigh.
We’ve still got a long way to go, but thanks to women like Sarah Thomas, we’re inching ever close to equality.
“[Thomas becoming a permanent official would be a] good positive first step that begins to reflect the gender dynamics of the NFL audience,” Aine Duggan, president of the National Council for Research on Women, told Bloomberg. “It’s important for women to see themselves reflected on and off the field. Having a woman referee is a good step that begins to do that.”
This is an open thread.
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