Pillow Talk … and a Clothing Controversy

Let me get this out of the way right now.

I’m absolutely incensed by the latest move by the airlines to squeeze another drop of blood ( money ) from the stone that has become your wallet. Jet Blue has decided to charge customers $7 for a pillow and blanket.

$7? Are you kidding? It’s bad enough we are getting charged for drinks, food, baggage and more but now we can’t even have a comfortable place to lay our heads and cover our bodies when the air conditioning starts blasting. As one airline industry analyst remarked, the only thing that is guaranteed to be covered in the cost of your ticket is a seat on the plane. Everything else is a la carte.

Mark my words: it’s only a matter of time before we get charged to use the bathroom on board. No, I’m not kidding.

Now, onto a controversy which probably hasn’t reached the North Shore of Pittsburgh, but has the cities of Chicago and Milwaukee in a blogging buzz. The discussion has to do with the woman in the above photograph. Her name is Erin Andrews and if you are a regular viewer of ESPN, you know who she is. She is the sideline reporter for baseball and her star is rising at the network. However, it’s something else she has that’s rising that has started a debate on the dress code at the ballpark … and the perception of female journalists.

She wore a sundress to cover the Cubs-Brewers game in Milwaukee with the hemline well above the knee. Her appearance inspired columnist Mike Nadel to write about Erin’s appearance and demeanor on the field that day. I’ll let you read his column but suffice to say, it did not paint a pretty picture of her. However, in my opinion, the article did more to display his personal biases and hang-ups than it did make Ms. Andrews seem like less of a journalist.

A few days later, the Milwaukee papers started asking thier local female TV sports reporters about the “Andresws Issue”. Trenni Kusnierek, a former TV sports reporter her who know works in Milwaukee, was very open and critical of Andrews and how her appearance affects all women practicing sports journalism.   

I’m not going to say whether Ms. Andrews’ appearance was proper or improper. That is not for me to decide and not for me to judge. I am a man and have very little understanding of female fashions and really don’t know what is trendy and what is not. What I will say is something I have always been told: Dress for the job your want.

I always told me female sports interns that they needed to be aware that in a professional locker room they would be judged differently and needed to keep that in mind … down to what they chose to wear that day.

There is a certain acceptable standard of dress in the work world today and even though that line becomes blurred by popular culture on a daily basis, common sense should dictates what is appropriate and what it not. For men, it’s relatively easy. We have a uniform – a suit – and there is very little debate as to what we should wear.

Women have many more choices and much more freedom, but all women also realize that they are judged more harshly by what they wear. I mean my parents, college-educated people, still critique the way a certain female anchor on Chicago TV will wear their hair. For Ms. Andrews and other female sports journalists today, it’s unfair that they have to worry about appearance as well as performance, but that is the professional world we live in. It just means they need to be a bit more careful.

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