Robin Givhan of The Washington Post, in a column today, points out the stark differences in the way Tiger Woods and the women who have been involved in the story of his affair have been considered in coverage.
She writes: "While Woods is being portrayed as complicated and troubled, the women are merely types... The golfer has been called a dog, a liar and worse. But he still gets the benefit of being perceived as an individual."
Givhan suggests that the way the women in the Woods' story have been characterized -- as simply "waitress" or "model" (it doesn't take much modeling experience for women, including his wife, to get this label) -- has been done with a "kind of wink and a nod."
It's as though mere mention of these types of jobs -- commonly associated with women -- are enough to indicate a low moral fiber. As Givhan writes, "For the women connected to Woods, their fairly mundane 9-to-5 gigs serve as a smoking gun of bad behavior."
Evidence of Givhan's observation -- the way these women have become objects in the hand-wringing about Woods ("What do we do about Tiger?") is evident in the celebrity press and the mainstream sports press.
An example of an especially troubling storyline is the suggestion that the women with whom Tiger has been involved "set women back" as a group. Would anyone argue that Woods represents all athletes, much less all men? It's a ridiculous assertion and a lazy, ill-informed broad brush with which to approach this story.