The Major League Baseball Association is instituting new dress guidelines for reporters and though they are stated to be for both men and women they are obviously really targeted at women. These rules make baseball the first pro North American league to do this.
The media should dress “in an appropriate and professional manner” with clothing proper for a “business casual work environment” when in locker rooms, dugouts, press boxes and on the field, the new MLB guidelines say. Banned are sheer and see-through clothing, ripped jeans, one-shouldered, strapless shirts or clothing exposing bare midriffs. Also listed are “excessively short” skirts, dresses or shorts cut more than 3-4 inches above the knee. Now, some male sports reporters can dress very casually ( I believe a Weekend at Bernie’s reference was tossed around by the AP) but I just don’t think they are the ones getting criticized for wearing “skimpy attire” that includes baring their midriffs and mini-skirts.
Even though MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said, “This is not in response to any single incident,” the MLB was probably put on alert after a Mexican TV reporter drew unwanted attention at the New York Jets’ training camp in September 2010. The NFL formed a committee of executives and media representatives to work on guidelines that included reporters not wearing flip-flops in the locker room for hygenic purposes (which is very logical.) But the other rules are a little much. ESPN reporter Jane McManus weighed in:
“If these rules came to the NFL, every woman in the room would have to get dressed with a ruler in hand to measure skirt length, and each conscientious female reporter would be a little bit insecure about the ramifications of a bra strap peeking out of her shirt.
Guys who cover baseball were joking about this in a few reports and via social media, because they know it will never apply to them. No one would dream of measuring their shorts, no matter how frayed. The only time clothing has been an issue in press boxes has been when women are scrutinized.”
However McManus does say that female sports reporters are torn when it comes to questionably dressed women in the pressbox. On the one hand, they do think it hurts women (as it does in every industry) when they dress skimpy or provocatively in a professional setting, especially one that is so traditionally male-dominated. But on the other hand, it is not fun to have such strict clothing guidelines in a rather casual industry.