Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Proud Young Women Standing Up to Bullies

I watched this morning’s press conference at Rutgers University featuring the women’s basketball team that overcame all manner of obstacles in order to make it to the national championship game. The 10 young women – not a senior among them – were on stage in the hot, scrutinizing glare of the national media.

Were those women there to celebrate their achievements? Is that why the media were clamoring to speak with them? Sadly, no. The students were there to address the revolting, sexist and racist comments a national media figure made last week which denigrated them, and, by extension, all young women.

The student athletes described how, in what should have been a triumphant weekend following the championship game, they were hounded relentlessly by members of the media calling them, following them and harassing their families all because a pair of reprehensible talk show bullies decided to take aim at them and call them names.

These young women, along with their impressive coach, didn’t take the insults passively. They bravely stood up to those talk show bullies and said they weren’t going to sit silent in the face of such egregious broadsides.

If I were the mother of any of those players, I would’ve been so proud of their cool in the face of such intense attention. As the mother of a daughter who lives in a society where women are judged mercilessly on every aspect of their lives, I was so very thankful that they stood up for what’s right because they stood up for not just themselves, but for all women, and for my daughter, an 8-year-old aspiring athlete.

We need to stand up to bullies. And fire them. MSNBC and the CBS radio station that employ Don Imus should do the right thing. They should put the ratings and potential profits from Imus’ show aside. And show him the door.

UPDATE: MSNBC has fired Imus and will no longer simulcast his syndicated radio program. Good for them. You could tell by the fire in NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ eyes last night, during the nearly 10 minutes he dedicated to this story, that he was ticked off. I only hope CBS Radio displays similar stones.

And for those who scream freedom of speech . . . Imus has every right to stand on the street corner and say whatever he wants to say without the government restricting his speech. He doesn’t, however, have a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants on the radio. Or TV. The station owners get to make those calls.

E-mail Meredith

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