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Monday, October 20, 2008

Women in Sports: Lies, Sexism & Selling Out

FEMINISM - If you look at women in sports what do you usually see?

Actually you probably don't see a lot unless you're looking in a men's magazine like Sports Illustrated and what you will see is a lot of skin and the emphasis will be on sex, not sports.

Men have so dominated the sports industry that when women try to get attention in the business they have to resort to doing something other than their actual sport... namely posing scantily clad. Take Ana Kournikova for example. She makes more money from doing photo shoots than she does from tennis. She's actually not even that good of a tennis player. She's a complete sell out.

The good female tennis players, Serena Williams and Venus Williams, meanwhile are widely ignored because they're black and there's the belief in western culture that black isn't beautiful. Complete nonsense of course, but thats the situation.

"How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete?" - Feminist Quote.

Just recently Billy Jean King was on Oprah and then talked about the historic moment in 1973's "Battle of the Sexes" when she defeated male champion Bobby Riggs. Billy Jean King won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. King has been an outspoken advocate against sexism in sports and society.

And she's absolutely right. There's a tonne of sexism in the sports industry and a lot of it shows up in the mass media in the form of women athletes (who aren't wearing very much).

And you will note quite a few of them are in Billy Jean King's profession: tennis. Also a lot of swimmers and golfers too who are willing to show a lot of skin. Check out the list at: Female Athletes, who takes them seriously?

Frankly there's a lot of myths and lies about women and exercise period. Like the myth that women's weightlifting will make you look like a man.

And the mass media/men's magazines certainly don't help by publishing images that show women athletes as sex objects.

Its bad enough that men's magazines are dictating who are "best" female athletes based on how good they look in a bikini, but they're also setting beauty standards for a new generation of women (and in particular women athletes).

Not every woman falls into the Sports Illustrated ideal of what is beautiful, and certainly not every female athlete falls into that either. Its simply unrealistic.

How about more images of women athletes doing what they do best? Being athletic. Lets see more shots of them lifting weights, running, swimming, jumping.

Relaxing on the beach in a bikini or wearing white shirts and getting soaked in the rain hardly seems on topic and certainly isn't going to inspire the next generation of female athletes.

Women like Billy Jean King, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Thats what we need more of.

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