Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Naked ambition or disrespect for athletes?

Can someone please explain to me why Great Britan's female athletes have to pose naked in order to get funding from the National Lottery and British Gas?

"Thanks to National Lottery players, over 1,200 athletes are benefitting from world-class support for 2012. The National Lottery is also contributing up to £2.2bn to the London 2012 venues, infrastructure and legacy. www.national-lottery.co.uk/bepartofit"

It appears that the national lottery is funding more than just the women's swim, synchronized swimming and water polo teams, and yet the women’s water teams are the only ones getting their kit off.
No male swimmers? No women's shot-put, discus, or wrestling teams?
Since the national lottery is also funding the venues and infrastructures, why not have some tasteful nudie shots of the organizing committee or would that be too disrespectful of those in authority?

The discussion about how well women's teams get funded compared to men's always ends in the old "women are not as athletic/strong/fast/violent, therefore not as interesting to watch.
This publicity does nothing to improve on that ignorance, and undermines thier sporting abilities with the lack of skill shown in the photo.
This picture is 100% about the beauty of the women. There isnt even any sporting equipment in the shot.

What is the relevance of these women’s naked bodies vs. their performance in their sport of choice? This is an especially important question since they have photo-shopped them so heavily so that they are all smooth and flawless. The flip side of that being that they have also removed most of the muscle tone.
What the heck are all the girls dreaming of national league supposed to think when they develop their wonderful strong, muscular frame of an athlete, and it looks NOTHING like the athletes on that page?

I have nothing against nudity.
I have nothing against fundraising.
My friend worked as a prostitute to get through med school. The advantage of this particular choice is that it can remain a secret when she needs it to be.

These women, for better or worse have most of their bodies accessible to the entire world for as long as the internet is open, and that is totally their choice, right?

When asking if they were coerced in any way, ask this. - Have any of them released naked photos of themselves on the net without the incentive of team funding?

While you think about that, go ahead and ponder and what level of respect is shown here for female athletes.


  1. If that isn't an example of sexism, I don't know what is.

  2. This reminds me exactly of that recent women's rugby team doing a naked calendar for fundraising and the whole "it's their choice" vs slut shaming commentary that went on.

    Come on world, show me where the All Blacks have had to get their cocks out to make sure they had enough money to put their uniforms on their back or travel to a (local) game, then tell me things aren't equal or objectified.

    Note: I know the AB's bodies are used in advertising, but it is to sell other products, not themselves, and also they don't get slut shamed for it. You don't hear anyone telling the ABs to put their chests back in their shirts for the Rexona ad now, do you.

  3. Vom. I loathe this whole "yes, I'm a female athlete, but also sexy as you can see by my Maxim photoshoot!" thing that seems to come up more and more.

    And I hate that without the captions telling us what their sport/event is, we wouldn't be able to tell by looking at the pics. As you said, there's no equpiment in shot, and there's no demonstration of their actual skills- which I imagine are pretty damn impressive. I would rather see a diver in mid-dive, or synchronized swimmers in beautiful mid-formation, and actually see them doing the thing they are good at and known for.

    Instead it's just a bland, shoppy pic that just makes me think of passive fish in a bowl. Well-played.

  4. (Should've made it clear in my previous comment: when I mentioned the whole Maxim photo shoot issue, it wasn't so much in regards to this but the way that it seems like more and morefemale athletes- often American- do some sort of lad-mag photo shoot, also nude (or mostly) and often without any reference in the shoot to their actul sport. Obviously this isn't a lad-mag shoot, but the theme (naked and removed from their sporting persona) is very similar.

  5. Women aren't valued as athletes. They're only valued for their beauty.

  6. I'm surprised they even knew the woman athletes existed... it never fails to shock (and depress) me that the BBC gets away with putting hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of darts and snooker on tax-payer funded television with barely a snippet of women in sport.

    With so much coverage given across commercial channels to men, men and more men in sport - and by god some of those sports are less interesting than watching grass grow - surely the state broadcaster should be obliged to at least attempt to balance it up.

    As shown by the huge upsurge in interest in watching netball in NZ after it was turned commercial and the media treated it as an attractive commodity, it's rather the framing of the sport that is the key issue, not the lack of athleticism of women. (Screen it, talk about it, act as though it is as much of value as man sport - which it is - and people will get into it.)

    In fact, the only times I can recall seeing female athletes on television here is Grand Slam tennis, and big both-gendered events such as the Olympics. No wonder woman athletes have to resort to taking their clothes off to gain funding.

    [Sorry prolonged rant. And hi! I'm back from holiday and now following your blog. Was great to meet you those few weeks ago! You'll be pleased to know I had a debate re: The Rock comp and quite publicly made a fool of someone who defended it at a wedding 10 days ago.]

  7. Plain and simple, women's sports don't sell enough tickets or bring enough eyeballs to the TV to get money on their own merit. The rare exceptions are the US women's national soccer team and exceptionally dominant athletes like Serena Williams or Ronda Roussey. You think if the (abjectly horrible) Cambridge women's rugby team was able to attract 20,000 paying fans every time they turned up for a game that they would have to pose naked for people to pay attention to them?


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