A League of Her Own

Dear Rock: I Can't Believe I'm Defending Erin Andrews, BUT

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Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I'm no fan of Erin Andrews.

And no, it's not jealousy. Well, maybe it is, but not the way you think. I'm not jealous of her looks, per se. However, I AM jealous of the fact that a woman who doesn't seem particularly bright or good at her job has managed to rise through the ranks of sports "journalism" based almost entirely on the way she looks. I'd be lying if I said she didn't have a job I would love to have myself, and I'm jealous of that. But I suppose this is no different than the legions of anchormen across America who have procured similar jobs in the same way.

But even though I'm not going to win any contests for being Erin's biggest fan, I feel compelled to defend her tonight.

My fellow ChicagoNow blogger and podcast partner, Rock Mamola, wrote a post tonight in which he accused Erin Andrews of "cashing in" on the infamy thrust upon her when some pervert decided to completely violate and invade her by secretly recording her walking around naked in her hotel room.

Rock raises a lot of different complaints, but chief among them seems to be this:

Face it Erin, you are benefiting from a personal hardship and it makes you look like a fraud.  The idea that you think all these things you have been asked to participate in is because of the interviews with SEC coaches you have done at half time is a joke.  You are a bigger star because of the same man who you said made you a "victim."  You should have a sizeable portion of all the money you made (including the 200,000 you made off DWTS) off your post-nude video career and set it aside for Mr. Michael Barrett who followed you and truly made you a star.

   
 

 

Rock goes on to say that he finds Erin's statements that she considers herself a victim false because of the barely-there outfits she wore on Dancing With the Stars.

Where to start?

How about here: Look, Erin Andrews isn't the first woman to complain that she's being treated like a sex object while intentionally not wearing a bra to a wet t-shirt contest. Women all over the media, sports and otherwise, having been playing this game for years. So while I found her constant complaining about wanting to be taken seriously BEFORE she was the victim of a crime somewhat disingenuous, I feel differently about what she is facing now.

I don't think anyone in media, including bloggers, goes into the field without some desire to be in the spotlight, and Erin is certainly no different than anyone else. And after all, Kenny Mayne was also on "Dancing With the Stars," and I don't recall anyone calling him a "fraud" after that incredibly poor decision. What about Chad Ochocinco? Emmett Smith?  

If you want to criticize Erin for claiming she's a serious sports reporter while secretly lusting for celebrity in general, fine. But she's hardly alone in that boat.

However, I take serious issue with stating that being violated in the manner in which Erin was, against her will and by a complete stranger, is the equivalent of wearing skimpy clothing on a ballroom dancing show. It's simply not. In fact, it's not even close. And while I know Rock and am 100% confident that he didn't mean this, it smacks a little too close to "women who dress that way deserve what they get."

Not only was Erin completely violated by the pervert who stalked her and took the video without her knowledge or consent, she was violated 1 million (ten million?) times more by all the guys who gleefully watched the video online, without a thought to her feelings or humiliation. In fact, the day I wrote about this story on my blog, I was hit with a chorus of guys who saw nothing wrong with their having viewed the video, commenting, "She's gorgeous! What does she have to be embarrassed about?"

Which is the point that guys miss entirely in this whole situation: SHE NEVER HAD A CHOICE.

What Erin Andrews showed you on Dancing With the Stars my have been racy, but it was her decision to put it out there. Hell, if she decided to pose for Playboy, it would still be her decision, her rules, her choice.

Having someone else make that decision for her, whether it was the perv who took the video in the hotel or the untold number of men who watched it online, took something away from her. It took away her control of how people see her. It took away control of her body. It took away her right to have a say. This was never about how much of Erin Andrews people saw. It is and always has been about the fact that someone else made that decision for her. THAT was the real crime.

So no, Rock. The fact that she is now cashing in on Dancing With the Stars or wearing clothes that you deem too scanty for a crime victim is completely beside the point. And frankly, a little bit sexist. While her unfortunate predicament may have helped vault her to another level of fame, your presuming the two are mutually exclusive. Either she's a crime victim who should wear bulky clothes and slink back to the shadows, or she's a fame-hungry bitch who really didn't mind being videotaped naked at all.

The truth? Probably a combination of the two. I see Erin Andrews as someone who has probably been waiting for her moment for a long time, and the fact that it came as the result of her being the victim of a crime isn't going to stop her from grabbing the brass ring. And, as always, if her looks can help her get there, she's more than happy to use them.

 

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48 Comments

Teebob2000 said:

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Wow! What a troglodyte fuckwit.

(Rock, not you.)

Eric From The Dugs said:

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Funniest damn thing.

I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU A VERBAL LASHING THE LIKES OF WHICH HASN'T BEEN SEEN BEFORE riiiiiiight after my son his done with his juicebox and orange slices.

Teebob2000 said:

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*pointing animatedly at Eric* He said it, Julie, not me!!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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(narrows eyes)

kerrence said:

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Great post, Julie, I totally agree.
Cool, she has tools to advance her career - that doesn't mean some pervo with a camera gets to film her without her consent. And the people who are talking smack about her don't seem to understand that word - CONSENT.

JulieDiCaro said:

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this was the most upsetting thing to me after it happened. all these guys were like "wow--what a perv! poor erin!" yet they had no problem watching the video.

i don't care if she showed up naked for DWTS. at least she would have made the conscious choice to do it.

also, i find it amusing that guys are just NOW complaining about erin andrews using skin to advance her career when girls have been rolling their eyes at it for years.

FrankS said:

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I didn't see the video, but I did see a pg-13 still that was used to illustrate a news story on the crime. If that still was representative of the quality of the video, it would be difficult to determine that the woman in the video even was Erin Andrews. Lots of women look like Erin, especially in a fuzzy video.

Certainly a crime was committed against her, but 99.9% of the world was unaware of the crime or the videos until her publicist alerted the media to it. That did seem to be a different way of handling this. I'm not saying it was wrong, just different.

FrankS said:

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ChicagoNow needs to be blown up and started over. I'm not going to re-type my comment after CN has a brain fart. ARGH!

secdelahc said:

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Agreed. Whether or not she uses DWTS to advance her career, it's her choice. And I'm guessing it's also about empowerment. Victims of sexually-related crimes a lot of times feel like they've lost all control of their life. Some never take back that control. Erin Andrews did, and I applaud her for it. And if it helps her career, more power to her.

I wish the guys understood all this. I can't think of a situation that would affect them like it affects women.

Great post, Julie.

flyball said:

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julie, I agree, she could have hidden in a corner and let it happen to her, but she instead decided to do the opposite and make her life about more than that

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Nice post!! Can we say "victim blaming?"

MN Pat said:

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I actually watch DWTS, and I didn't want to like Erin when she first showed up on the show. But you know what? She had a really good reason for being there, and I ended up liking her quite a bit. She used the opportunity to reveal what she wanted, when she wanted, which is an exercise in control. Sure she revealed a lot of skin, but if you watched you saw her partner taking off his shirt at any given opportunity.

Like you said, it's about choice. She knows most of these guys have seen everything ... now she's choosing what they can see and what they can't see. It took huge balls for her to go on this show, and I actually ended up respecting her for doing so. (Much more so than the Pussycat Doll that won, who just wanted more publicity.)

Thanks, Julie, for posting this. Rock is misguided.

David Funk said:

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I have to agree with what you're saying here. She was thrown into media frenzy through no fault of her own with the video tape. Consent is definitely the moral of all this.

Nice post again, Julie!

David Funk said:

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I have to agree with you on this. Consent is what this SHOULD have been all about to begin with, but instead, some insist that it was strictly about seeing her on video.

Good post again, Julie!

David Funk said:

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I have to agree with you on this. Consent is what this SHOULD have been all about to begin with, but instead, some insist that it was strictly about seeing her on video.

Good post again, Julie!

David Funk said:

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I have to agree with you on this. Consent is what this SHOULD have been all about to begin with, but instead, some insist that it was strictly about seeing her on video.

Good post again, Julie!

MillsChC said:

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Ummm... since ALOHO is the only place worth clicking on in this POS blog network, I would've liked it better if you'd took the elitist high road here, and just ignored any lame attempt to try to draw attention to whatever other CN crap blog this was about. It seemed fairly obvious to me that no one would really have the actual opinion presented in that post... so the only rational conclusion to this is that someone over there had this thought:

"Hey lemme post something really outlandish about a violated woman, and then maybe one of my dummy readers will comment about it on the Holy Grail of CN blogs... so then Julie will post a long retort and in the process get my name and blog out there"

Stinks you fell for it this time.

Oh, and for the record, I was one of those guys who said "wow--what a perv! poor erin!" and then had no problem watching the video... but that's neither here nor there.

flyball said:

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as far as other blogs, I submit for your consideration Kevin O'Neil and the CTA Tattler

FrankS said:

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I hate Chicago Now. Two comments both blown to smithereens by this lousy interface. Phhhppt!

Awesome Barb said:

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Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking when I read his post earlier.

dish100 said:

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Erin shouldn't have to deal with people like that. I'm a HUGE fan of hers and I think that she is completely capable of doing her job well, looks aside. I just hope one day you (and everyone) can see that Erin is truly talented, and puts a lot of hard work and effort into her job because she cares and is passionate about it!

dish100 said:

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I'm a HUGE fan of hers and I think that she is completely capable of doing her job well, looks aside. I just hope one day you (and everyone) can see that Erin is truly talented, and puts a lot of hard work and effort into her job because she cares and is passionate about it!

dish100 said:

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When I read this I wanted to punch that guy so hard! Erin shouldn't have to deal with people like that. I'm a HUGE fan of hers and I think that she is completely capable of doing her job well, looks aside. I just hope one day you (and everyone) can see that Erin is truly talented, and puts a lot of hard work and effort into her job because she cares and is passionate about it!

MillsChC said:

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Chicago Now is a piece of shit!

Specifically because it took a crap when I tried to post a nice, well-thought out (to me at least) and funny (to me at least) kinda sorta lengthy comment.

Oh, and Chicago Now is a piece of shit in general as well.

MillsChC said:

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Test comment

MillsChC said:

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Um... what is this Rock blog you're fighting here?

Oh it's just one of those other shit CN blogs... I like to think this site is the only one here even though it has to be on the POS known as Chicago Now.

Alex Quigley said:

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Hey, Mills:

Go fuck yourself.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Please don't insult my readers. Thanks.

MillsChC said:

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Really... thanks!

But, um.. who are you again?

Umbra said:

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I see this as her turning lemons into lemonade. Would she have been on DWTS if the tape had never happened? Maybe, but Rock seems to think not. Even if we allow that premise, calling her a fraud doesn't follow: taping her without her consent is as far removed from her wearing skimpy costumes as sexual assault is from consensual sex. What matters is her consent. It is not a sign of a lack of integrity to profit off her sex appeal while simultaneously going after this guy for taping her against her will because the cases are different: in one, she understands what she's wearing and what she'll be doing and agrees to it, in the other she does not have that choice.

Even if she has spun a terrible situation to her advantage, I don't begrudge her that, and it doesn't justify what that guy did just because it helped her career. John Walsh has certainly made a name for himself and has championed a lot of different causes. Would it make sense to say his suffering over his child's death is fraudulent because without it, John Walsh would not be a household name today? Sometimes bad things turn out to be blessings in disguise, but that doesn't mean they weren't bad!

AndCounting said:

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I agree with all your conclusions, but I would never allow the premise in the first place. There's just no way her appearance on DWTS had anything to do whatsoever with the peep-hole incident. She's probably the most attractive employee of the Disney corporation that owns both ABC and ESPN . . . there is a 0% chance that she wasn't going to be on DWTS. There was actually a campaign to get her on the show long before that incident. It's just a stupid, stupid insinuation by Rock, here.

Again, it doesn't negate any of the conclusions you all have made about his reasoning further down the logical road, I just think the entire argument was doomed from the very first step. She didn't benefit from being violated. At all.

Umbra said:

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We'll tie ourselves up in knots debating that. Tons of people knew who she was and that Erin Andrews was very pretty well before this came to light, and if it had never happened and she had still been on DWTS no one would have batted an eyelash.

I see little point in challenging Rock about this part of the argument. He's not going to budge and his argument falls apart later anyway, so why bother? Just point out that it's not duplicitous in the slightest to give consent to a sexy dance and to be outraged over not having the ability to lend consent to naked pictures.

What most bothers me about this is the focus on the consequences of the tape. Were there positive consequences? Maybe. Were there negative consequences? Oh of course absolutely. Even if the good outweighs the bad in some weird karmic balancing system that only Rock is privy to, that's just not how justice or morality or ethics work in this universe.

CourtSport said:

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The fact that she wore a fleshed colored dance costume is not a reason for anyone to say that she is NOT in danger or scared anymore by her stalker. She is still a victim but she is choosing to live her life and live in fear.

David Funk said:

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I have to agree with you on this. Consent is what this is all about for sure.

The hypocrisy of people get me as well. They don't mind the attire on DWTS or lack of it in the video she gave no consent to. But yet, they still watched the video and obviously have paid attention enough to bash her for a choice of attire SHE made on DWTS.

Good post again, Julie!

Awesome Barb said:

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Thank you for articulating the thoughts that popped in my mind when I read his piece yesterday.

VelvetJinxx said:

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Right on! This Rock fellow takes feminism back 100 years. Good for you for supporting her in spite of your previous misgivings. That takes character!

AndCounting said:

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Well said, Julie. I would just add that that peep-hole video was NOT what made Erin Andrews famous. She was called Erin Pageviews for a reason (and Rock isn't unaware of that effect). She didn't benefit from being violated, that's just dumb. Maybe a lot of people hadn't heard of her, but I guarantee even fewer had heard of Kenny Mayne before he went on Dancing with the Stars. Erin Andrews was going to be on DWTS with or without the peep-hole incident, and if anything that violation made it more difficult, not easier for her to do so. Hmm, how improbable that a well-known, wildly attractive reporter was able to land a spot on a reality show broadcast by the company that employs her, a company fully aware of Erin Andrew's appeal to a wide audience. Oh, and since DWTS drew its biggest ratings ever and turned American Idol into an also-ran, I guess ABC owes Michael Barrett millions of dollars, right?

That's just plain idiotic. It's like saying Charles Lindbergh is indebted to his baby's kidnapper or that Nancy Kerrigan owes Gillooly a gold medal.

CN71 said:

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Agree 100%. Never read an article or blog by that dumb as a box of Rocks DB before and never will again. That was pathetic. Wow did he just show everyone who he is. There are so many topics to blog about in this world and this chauvinistic idiot thinks this is interesting...and worse I assume he believes what he wrote (or of course he is a fraud, hmmm). I'm sorry you have to work with idiots like that.

clm1855 said:

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Where's the like button? A great reply to Rock's terribly misguided column.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Nice post, Julie. Rock sounded like a good ol' fashion case of victim blaming. It's sad that it still happens.

gravedigger said:

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Nope, no problems here at Chicago Now. Everything is great, as usual.

gravedigger said:

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God, I couldn't care any less about this topic, at all.

thefoolinyourhead said:

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Rock. As in "dumb as a box o Rocks" .

sloan peterson said:

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Good post Julie! I am so not an Erin Andrews fan-for years watched her on sports channel BUT....Being stalked is not about the stalkee being flirty and wearing tacky clothes!! It is an excercise in power and control for the stalker!! I never saw the video,don't watch most videos on the web,(probably the third from the last person who never saw the Pammy/Tommy video)and don't like DWTS.Even so, this Rock guy is dead wrong in this case....

cadarnell said:

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not really much new here ... a pretty and famous woman shows up naked on the internet. Is it wrong? Yes. Is it the world stars live in? Yes. Is this rock guy way off base? Unfortunatly probably not. ... hey !! how bout them CUBS!!!!!

flyball said:

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I have no problem with Erin Andrews, she's a sideline reporter, she asks questions while coaches are going to the locker room after a crappy first half, and gives random information from the stands, 1) I think some of the criticism are a programming issues and 2) whats she supposed to do get all invasive and confrontational? thats not her job

the DWTS thing just makes me angry, talk about a double standard, Buzz Aldrin goes on it and everyone is "oh, Buzz Aldrin is so great for doing this" and Tom DeLay was on, Steve Wozniak. Just because they wear suits to dance, and the women wear dresses is a product of BALLROOM DANCING (haven't you all ever seen Strictly Ballroom? no, well go watch it, its a good movie) you can't support a society that encourages these distinctions, and then get angry at women that dress that way, that double standard just pisses me off

Sherry said:

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I believe she could of posed for Playboy and did not choose to, because she had a sense of personal modesty & regard for her family, so I think the videotape is a real nightmare for her. On DWTS, there are a lot more scantily clad women on there. Her purple-feathery dress was a long sleeve, high neck, skin-colored 1-piece dress. Her dance partner designed her outfits, and I believe she thinks everything he does regarding dancing competitions is golden, so if you didn't like that purple-feathery dress, you should take it up with him. I think most of her job offers are a result of people enjoying and liking her on DWTS, and not because of the videotape.

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