For a few years now, a thought has swirled around in my head. I believe that the thought had its birth in the fact that I’m not yet a member of the National Turf Writers’ and Broadcasters’ Association. Not that they wouldn’t have me–God knows,I’m pretty sure that I’ve got enough chops and stuff on my resume that qualify me for active membership.
But I–yes, I, Empress of All My Eye Surveys–am a bit intimidated by the process. At this moment,I’m pulling my stuff together to initiate The Process…but still, in love with myself that I am–am a bit cowed by the idea. Do I pray that Someone Big notices me,and says, “By God, THAT woman should join our club!”?
So, I’m not a member. Hopefully by this Kentucky Derby weekend, I will be.
Anyway, all that got me to thinking…if I’M confused…and God knows, I have NO lack of self esteem or confidence…might other women in racing media be hiding in the shadows?
And what if We Women joined forces, and created a horse racing media organization that would nurture, inspire, bless us–and help us to connect?
And that led me, after several years’ pondering…to January 25th, 2014.
That was the day day that the organization, Women in Horse Racing Media, was created…
I awoke that morning with one thought, a thought that actually had the power to catapult me out of my warm, cozy bed on a frigid, mind-numbingly cold, Upstate New York morning.
The Thought: Simply, that that day was the day that Women in Horse Racing Media should begin. Virginia Woolf wrote that,
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
Well, in the spirit of Virgie, I believe that women professionals in racing media must have money–of course–but also a “room” where we can write, talk, comment, analyze, handicap–or whatever we do as media professionals in this sport–if we are to succeed.
Scratch “succeed.” Success isn’t nearly as important as excelling. As feeling fulfilled. As being taken seriously.
I know! I know! We are taken seriously, in most places. And by most of our male colleagues. And by fans,and other racing professionals.
Why, then, are most TV and radio desks (handicapping shows; race day commentary, etc.)–populated by males in suits?
(Now, don’t go and misquote me: I am NOT anti-male. I do NOT “hate” men in horse racing media. I know many, many gentlemen who are involved thus, and the majority of them are wonderful men. I just want to know why–if we females are 51% of the general population–and the majority of the horse racing fan base–why is it that the sport’s media doesn’t reflect this statistic? There are tons of women who write and edit–but certainly, 51% of television and radio personalities are not of my gender.)
And then there’s the idea that we contribute to our own lack of presence: to paraphrase the comic strip, Pogo:
“We have met the enemy…and she is us.”
I hate to write this–God knows, I hate even to think this–the very thought makes me ill. But we women don’t need men, or “luck” or “bad breaks” in order for our careers, dreams and excellence to be crushed. We’re too good at doing that,ourselves.
* It may be due to personal pressure–females telling themselves that they can’t do it. That they’d never make it–or aren’t “good enough,” or “smart enough.”
* It may be institutionalized infantilizing of females: Disney and other promoters of Princess Culture–the convincing of little girls that excellence in Life happens if you’re pretty, thin (and stupid helps)–certainly help feed the need to find “validation” via an outside source.
But unfortunately, the Princess Culture continues to wreak havoc with girls’ and women’s heads (and ultimately, careers and lives) because WE, the Women–continue to allow it.
And, God knows, the rise of the Queen Bee hasn’t helped us, at all. (For those of you not familiar with the term or the concept, a Queen Bee is a woman who rises through the ranks in her chosen profession–gets up nice and high–and then crushes every other female who wants to make it. Queen Bees like being the only woman in their particular stratosphere–and they’re not about to share the glory, money or prestige. And male attention.)
Do not think that Queen Bees are “strong women.” Queen Beeism is not a Feminist Statement: if anything, it’s quite the opposite. By definition, a woman who’d hold back another woman is not a Feminist. (And a woman who’d hold back ANYone–female or male–is a lousy human being.)
So, as much as I hate to admit it–we women CAN be our own worst enemies. We can get to a comfortable place–then we get scared, that we’ll lose that place–so we put up walls against all other females,because they may be The Enemy. In fact, we are our own Enemy.
There are some amazing–truly gifted,talented, brilliant–women in horse racing media. Women I admire–and you do, too.
And there are women who want SO much to have the opportunity to show what they can do–but no one has held open the proverbial barn door for them.
So I decided on January 25th that I would try to start the movement–and find others of like mind–of women helping women in racing media.
Corporate America may be lousy with Queen Bees–but OUR industry has a boatload of Alpha Mares. And Alpha Mares–unlike Queen Bees–well, our thing is to look out for the well-being of all the members of our Herds. (Sure, I know of a couple of Queen Bees in racing media, but I just laugh at the insecurity of such babes.)
In order to get Women in Horse Racing Media off to a good little start, we’re starting with a Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-in-Horse-Racing-Media/489589681146031The Mission is simple:
To bring together females who work in all horse racing media, under one umbrella organization. To encourage each other, and the next generation of Women in Horse Racing Media.
As I created the page and posted it, women who are fans stepped forward–women who are fans of women in racing media. They wanted in, too. So there are three levels of belonging, as are explained in the organization’s description, below. Please read this, and see if there’s a place for you in Women in Horse Racing Media. (If you fit into one of the three categories, we’d love to put your name and contact info into the newly-minted database. Please email me at the address, below.)
Before you read any farther, I want to stress here: wherever you are on this blue Earth–if you’re a female,and you fit into one of our three categories–you are VERY welcome!
FB description of Women in Horse Racing Media:
Queen Bees live and work for themselves. No one needs or likes a Queen Bee.
Alpha Mares, on the other hand–our job is to look out for the well-being of the members of our Herds.
Women in Horse Racing Media here on FB is a place for all women involved–as writers, editors, publishers, photographers, videographers, handicappers, analysts, storytellers, filmmakers, directors, producers, commentators or other on-air talent, radio show hostinistas–whatever your role in the various media in our glorious, beautiful, frustrating sport–if you’re a female, we invite you to join our Herd.
Herd today, full-blown organization tomorrow.
There are three levels of belonging: Active, Aspiring and Affiliate.
Active: You’re a professional woman in horse racing media.
Aspiring: You’re a female student (any age), or a female who hopes/prays/dreams/is working toward–your own career in racing media.
Affiliate: You’re a woman or a grrrl, and you can’t get enough of women in racing media.
I’m Marion Altieri. (FYI) I’ve started a database, and would love to add your name and contact info to the database in one of those three categories. Just email me at:
Come, join the dialogue. All female media pros invited, all aspiring females–please come along for the ride, as well. See…that’s what Alpha Mares do…unlike Queen Bees, we encourage others to work their hearts out; to join our ranks and find fulfilling, joyous vocations in our sport.
As the organization grows, we’ll leap off the pages of Facebook, and into the realm of Card-Carrying Members’ Organization. I–we–hope that, if you’re one of us; aspire to become one of us or are wild fans of women in racing media–that you’ll join in. As women in our sport excel, everyone benefits: females find their vocations. Horses find more allies who are against slaughter and abuse. The sport, itself, will prosper and grow, like never before.