You better watch what you…wear?

In Portrait of a Lady on November 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I finished sort of abruptly with my blog from yesterday because I want to continue along the same theme.  Except today I’m going to delve into the sports that women are allowed to excel in – due to the femininity of them.  Things like figure skating and gymnastics, arguably my two favorite Olympic events to watch (I like track, swimming and beach volleyball as well).  I enjoy watching figure skating and gymnastics because of the immense amount of skill and technique that goes into it.  It’s not just about perseverance and talent, but about aesthetics as well – it’s an artistic sport, like dance, which is probably why they incorporate music and choreography into the mix.  I prefer watching women to men in these two sports because it’s prettier – more aesthetically pleasing to the eye (and being a girl or just someone who enjoys beautiful things that matters to me).  And I’m sure my upbringing has something to do with it, since girls are supposed to like such things, while for men it’s too girly…In gymnastics men don’t do the uneven bars or the balance beam, which are my favorite events to watch, and with them, for both gymnastics and figure skating, I feel as though it has become more about power instead of finesse.  I realize they have a tremendous amount of dexterity but this gets downplayed by the necessity for them hide their so called ‘feminine’ qualities of gracefulness or elegance.  Though there can be beauty in power as well. 

Besides the idea that ‘beautiful’ sports are feminine, what the athletes wear also plays into it.  In beach volleyball, figure skating and gymnastics, the men get to be fully clothed while the women wear some variation of swimwear (for the most part).   In volleyball they have to (it’s a rule) wear a bikini, while guys get to wear tank tops and shorts.  Maybe they’re trying to create a more beach atmosphere but then guys should take off their tops too.  Does clothing on women somehow get in the way? That’s very bizarre. 

This comes back to the idea that women have to be ‘feminine’ or sexual (however you want to look at it) in what they do, and in order to do this they wear less clothing and are more provocative. 

Brazilian women's team

This was the first picture that popped up when I did an image search of beach volleyball, and yes, I’m sure every woman loves having her butt hang out of her swimsuit while she plays, so that the camera can zoom in on her body and the world can see what she looks like.  In reality they probably don’t like it, or maybe they don’t care because they’re more focused on playing the game, but looking at all the images that showed up in the search, society, or the media, seems more preoccupied with their bodies and/or teammate interaction. 

Men's Brazilian Team

Men's Brazilian Team

Here’s the first guy’s picture that came up.  I think there was one other picture of male players out of 3 pages of images, while the majority of the photos consisted of female players (sometimes playing the game, but often not) and cheerleaders.  And look, these guys are fully clothed and playing the game – not hugging, or down in the sand, or handshaking, or showing off their assets…

Gymnastics: Here we have the balance beam – we get to see an amazing routine (that won gold), and then just for fun, they throw in some butt pops and legs lifts. 

For the men, we have the pommel horse.  Just pure strength and agility – and take note of the difference in outfits if you please.

Figure skating: Yu na Kim won the 2010 Olympic gold medal in figure skating – arguably the best one out there for skill, choreography and grace. 

Evan Lysacek won the gold for the U.S. in men’s figure skating, and he’s actually much more graceful than I thought he’d be, but I guess that’s why men who figure skate get a bad rap from other men.  Especially considering his choice in music.  But, he is completely covered in a suit, while Kim was wearing more of a leotard.


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