Archive for May 7th, 2008

May 7, 2008

How not to help women’s sports

Via Feministing, the WNBA has decided to market their players more effectively. This is necessary, of course, because women’s sports never do get the level of marketing or coverage that men’s sports do. So how are they doing this? They’re giving the players makeup and fashion tips.
The thing is, for me, it’s not just that women’s sports get less attention and air time (8%, someone quoted in the Feministing post said?), it’s what sort of coverage they get as well.
A year and a half ago, I wrote:

It gets worse when it comes to women’s sport. I was in England during Wimbledon this year, and even The Guardian felt that it was more important to talk about Maria Sharapova’s screams and grunts on court than her tennis. FIFA’s Sep Blatter said a couple of years ago that female footballers needed to wear sexier shorts, and every teenaged boy knows that the Australian women’s team once posed for a nude photograph – the only thing about women’s football that they know.

This is just more of that, isn’t it? If women want attention to be paid to women’s sports, they’re just going to have to be pretty and feminine. But then, of course, no one is actually paying attention to the women’s sports any more.

“You’re a woman first,” Brown said. “You just happen to play sports. They enjoy dressing up and trying on outfits, where back in the day, everyone just wore sweats.”

I’m reminded of this incident.

In the meantime, The Huffington Post reported that the passion fruit recipe had appeared under Mrs. McCain’s name in the Jan. 16 issue of The New York Sun, in an article that also included a recipe from Michelle Obama (apple cobbler) but not one from the spouse of the other Democratic presidential candidate. The article did include Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

You’re a woman first. You just happen to play sports. You just happen to be a presidential candidate. You just happen to be at this convention. You’re a woman first. And this means (it has to mean) you like to wear make-up and pretty clothes. You are “mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces and entrepreneurs”. You bake cookies! You have breasts. Does anyone really believe this is helping?

Why do I do this? Because it’s fun and shallow and easy and I like looking at hot sweaty men? Well. Yeah. But there’s more.