An Uncomfortable Slack Conversation About Privilege, Representation, Sexism & Sports

Slide 32
5 min readOct 14, 2020

Blake: Yo! How’s that deck coming?

Grace: ugh….alright. Adding the last few images now, just kind of hard to find pictures of women playing sports that don’t look like this.


Blake: yikes


Grace: ya…..

Blake: that really doesn’t look like functional sports attire

Grace: lol but seriously, this is pretty annoying

Blake: kind of a perfect example of how our industry and culture treats/views women athletes

Grace: exactly. Maybe we should write a blog about this. It’s like a great jumping off point to talk about how women are represented in sports and marketing broadly

Blake: That’s a solid idea, actually

Blake: wait… check this out


Grace: um, HR, please?

Blake: I just searched for images of men playing sports and this came up. Lol

Grace: ok…

Blake: wow, wild when I search for “woman + sports” I actually get images of women playing sports, too.

Grace: ya, but there are still lots of images of women in “less-than-functional” sports attire, right?

Blake: ya, but the same is true for the dudes kinda…

Grace: try just searching “sports”


Grace: what do you see?

Blake: …all dudes and some ladies in bikinis holding footballs

Blake: weird how if I wanted to see images of women playing sports I instinctively knew that I had to use the term “women” but if I wanted men, I could just look for sports images. It’s like I already knew I had to work within a sexist structure, ya know?

Grace: yup!

Blake: wow, why don’t we write a blog about THAT?! Like about me not even realizing my own bias. I try pretty hard to be aware of this stuff and even I could mess it up.

Grace: maybe, I mean you’re great at being “woke”, but…

Blake: wait, this is actually an awesome idea, like me confronting my own privilege, ya know? This could be a great way to explain how sexism and bias aren’t just overt statements but like covert ideas that we internalize and how this can compel me to be more compassionate to people who don’t believe in institutionalized racism and stuff

Blake : we could even use this conversation as a jumping off point! I feel like this could be one of those viral Medium stories! This is solid.

Grace: is it though?

Blake: yes. yes it is…why do I feel like you’re not on board?

Grace: please don’t be offended…

Blake: oh man, I worry about sentences that start like that : \

Grace: it’s just that I’m not sure this is the right way to go about it. I appreciate the point you’re making but I’m not sure what the world needs is another story about a cis, hetero, straight, white guy coming to terms with his own privilege. This is kind of an example of how much of a privilege it is to “discover” bias rather than actually experiencing it

Blake: oh word, I saw a meme about that…is that what I’m doing? Shit, am I a meme?

Grace: lol. These types of stories (and there are a lot of them these days) can tend to come off like you’re mansplaining privilege when read by people who aren’t as privileged as white men. We need people to listen. The white male viewpoint has been the dominant viewpoint for years. It’s shaped so much of our culture and “norms”, now it’s time for other people to have a chance.

Grace: For example, people of color have been saying things are racist, biased or prejudiced for ages, and it isn’t validated until a white person says that it is. Until then it’s just noise and sometimes it feels like we’re screaming into a void. Just because white people say it’s racist, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been. Same with men. Just because a woman has been saying this is sexist, and a man all of a sudden realizes it, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been this whole time. We live this everyday, we don’t need to hear you explain it to us.

Blake: shit, good point.

Grace: ya, no offence again, but I think we should just write about how it’s shitty that women aren’t considered real athletes, and that it permeates our society so much that images like these still exist.


Grace: Cause that’s the point. Sexism in sports and marketing exists. Let’s not take away from that. And you, as a white male, can be an advocate without bringing your personal experience into it.

Blake: yeah, good call. Like how are girls supposed to aspire to be the next Naomi Osaka when they google image search “woman tennis” and this is the picture they see?


Grace: exactly. Let’s write that blog. Also, Naomi is a badass.

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Slide 32

Slide 32 is a marketing agency with a conscience. We help you connect your marketing efforts to your community to create a positive impact. https://www.slide32.