You’re a pro athlete? Awesome! Now, how good do you look in a bikini?

In Portrait of a Lady on November 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

Female athletes – and no, in our society we cannot just call them athletes because then we’d mix them up with male athletes and people might get upset – are an interesting topic.  I feel as though a lot of people find female athletes to be a joke and not even worth watching because they’re not as entertaining as men, not as talented, not as fit or strong or something.  Basically, the idea is that they’re not really athletes and in order for them to exist they either have to be objectified or justified in some way.  I guess men feel as though they’re not allowed to find female athletes as entertaining because that takes the ‘manliness’ out of sports – since sports is a guy thing – I know this isn’t always the case, especially concerning some sports, though that leads to another debate…but I personally don’t watch sports.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m a girl or not but I know that fact that society not expecting me to know about sports influences that.  My little brother started reading about sports online when he was 13 or 14 or so, because if he didn’t then he wouldn’t have been able to have conversations with his friends. For me, if it’s on, ok I can enjoy it but it’s not something I avidly watch, unless it’s the Olympics or World Cup or something.  I prefer playing sports to watching them, and I would think that’s how everyone feels but it’s probably not true, since if you’re really into something you probably enjoy seeing professionals play the sport how it’s ‘meant to be played’.  Anyway, I’ve gone on a tangent. 

Women in sports.  If the woman is attractive she gets to pose seductively in Sports Illustrated or use her body, and not her image as an athlete, to promote something. 

Exhibit A: Maria Sharapova – pro Tennis player

Maria Sharapova - Sports Illustrated

Here she is in Sports Illustrated, because the only way a woman can get into this magazine, it seems, is if she’s wearing a bikini.  Granted she is quite hot but I really don’t understand how this photo of her in a bikini has anything to do with tennis, or sports for that matter. 

Exhibit B: Roger Federer – pro Tennis player

Roger Federer

On the cover of Sports Illustrated, being argued as one of the best Tennis players of his time.  On the COVER.  Playing his sport.  What sport does he play? Well, it’s pretty obvious to see it’s tennis, and he’s not displaying excess amounts of skin or being shot in such a way to show how attractive he is or entice people to look at him in any other way than ‘wow, he’s a good tennis player’. 

It’s as though men can only justify themselves knowing about female athletes or seeing them in a sports magazine if they’re visually pleasing or playing off of their sexual desires. 

Typing their names into Google search, you know what comes up?

Maria Sharapova: engaged, engagement ring, boyfriend, ring, height, dating…

Roger Federer: trick shot, twins, between the legs, US open 2010, wife, US open…

From the first 6 suggested searches I have no idea whatsoever what Sharapova does, or that she even plays a sport.  I don’t even know if she was that great of a tennis player because I’ve only ever seen her in commercials, but for Federer, I’m not sure if he’s in commercials, though I’m sure he is, but I am aware that he is quite a talented player.  What’s with that? Talented attractive female athletes – you get to be seen as sex objects; Talented less attractive female athletes – you get to be ignored or made out as more masculine: usually being described as aggressive or powerful, etc

And if you didn’t notice, for females, their personal lives are more important because we have to make sure they’re truly feminine, or else they could be lesbians…Wait, What?! Yeah, supposedly, since being athletic is manly, it could also mean being a lesbian too.  Especially if you’re on a softball team, or so I’ve been told.  And men who watch sports don’t want to look at women who are lesbian and manly, so we have to know about their boyfriends and their husbands and their children, and we have to know how they juggle family and their sport…


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