Twitter has noticed a huge difference between how BBC Winter Olympics presenters are describing women and men. Namely, women are typically referred to as “girls,” while men are called, well, “men,” and viewers are not having it.
One person tweeted, “Really enjoying the Olympic coverage but please @BBCOlympics stop referring to the female competitors as ‘girls.’ What’s wrong with women? The men don’t get called boys.”
Another asked, “Why is it men’s slalom and downhill, and girls slalom and downhill? Why not women? Bloody annoying. #bbcolympics.”
According to Elle U.K., the BBC responded to the criticism by saying that it had absolutely no intention of undermining or devaluing the female competitors, and also said that some of the female athletes had been referring to themselves as “girls.”
Let’s be clear: If a female athlete chooses to refer to herself as a “girl” that’s her choice, but it’s clearly not the same as receiving equal recognition from a major global network.
This isn’t the first time the BBC has been criticized for its sexist coverage of the Olympics. Back in 2016, a BBC commentator was called out when he referred to the judo final between Kosovan Majlinda Kelmendi and Italian Odette Giuffrida as a “cat fight.”
And the BBC isn’t the only network receiving criticism over how they’re referring to female participants either. Twitter has noticed that NBC has a habit of calling female athletes “girls,” too. However, NBC hasn’t yet released a statement.
Since the recent criticism, some Twitter users have noticed a difference with the BBC’s coverage. One tweeted: “Just stumbled across less than two minutes of BBC Winter Olympics coverage. Presenter twice called the downhill skiers they were watching ‘girls’ before immediately correcting herself and saying ‘…these strong, powerful, female athletes’…”
At least it’s a step in the right direction. Because, as awesome female athletes like Chloe Kim prove, they are more than just “girls” — they are strong ass women.