I was watching on TV the french sports news. The main headline was of course the French rugby national team winning against Canada during the world cup. After this came several other sport news – basketball, football, etc. Like most of the time, the news were all related to masculine athletes – feminine sports suffer from an under-representation in medias. But then came some news related to feminine athletes – the feminin basketball team of Lyon. Not really that they were interested in the sportive performances of the team though… they commented the new outfit of the team. Indeed, the athletes will now play wearing a short dress instead of a t-shirt and pants.
New suit, old story: athlet or not, it looks like apparently for a woman to appear in the headlines and in the news, she has to “deserve it” through her appearance, not her performance. Lot of work still to do here for feminism.
It is often said that the sports scene is sexist; it is certainly true. For example, female athlets suffered for a long time from the unattractivity of their careers for sponsors due to the lack of interest of public and media in their sports. The last decade saw the emergence of a few mediatic female athlets that helped to drag the attention on their sports and attracted to them the sponsors, who shaped for them an oversexualized public image. In comparision, their image is strikingly different from the image of male athlets. Looking at advertising campaigns, female athlets are generally posing in soft porn ads, whereas male athlets are generally posing practicing their sport or in a suit, representing an image of prestige, performance and strenghth (cf. pictures below).
And I am still wondering: aren’t female athlets – even the most talented and gifted amongst them – exploited as sexual objects only because after all it’s what the audiance wants to see? So why are we, as an audiance, brought to be disinterested in anything else a woman has to offer except her sexualized image?