Monday, 8 July 2013

Sport: played by men, decorated by women?

Almost every break in play is accompanied by a quick sneak of the players' box to check up on the Wags – odd that they don't do the same for the women's matches... [source]
The above quote fulfils one of the aims of Media Studies: to make invisible ideology (means of influencing opinion and belief systems) visible; the following exposes further examples of how our standard discourse is exposed as sexist when it comes to sport, specifically tennis.You can find many more articles and analyses easily enough; look for headlines such as Wimbledon exposed the sexism women face – as players and girlfriends.
The reactions to the 2013 Wimbledon winners has seemingly exposed the lingering binary in approaches: Murray's athleticism was admired, while women's title Bartoli was admonished not just for a lack of athleticism but also unattractiveness!
It is well established that men's sport is more exposed, more prestigious and more lucrative, although Wimbledon has had parity of prize money since 2007; in the 18 months to August 2011, women's sport comprised only 0.5% of sponsorship and 5% of TV coverage. The cyclist Lizzie Armitstead, who won Britain's first medal in the 2012 Olympics, called the sexism she faced "overwhelming. It's the obvious things – the salary, media coverage …"
The above quote comes from Tany Gold's Guardian column. She focusses on BBC commentator's John Inverdale's rather dubious (she terms it moronic) contribution:

One is a tale of mere triumph; the other of triumph cut with scorn. Yesterday Andy Murray finally won Wimbledon and climbed into the players' box to celebrate; Saturday on Centre Court was less edifying. As the French tennis player Marion Bartoli climbed through the crowds to hug her father after winning the women's singles title, Radio 5 Live presenter John Inverdale thought it an adequate moment to comment on her appearance – what else? "Do you think," he mused moronically, "Bartoli's dad told her when she was little, 'You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight'?"
Do you think she's right to conclude:
Sexism and the explicit discussion of the female body is still acceptable; that it exists in the sporting arena, where women thrive because they are strong, is only more offensive. Women are judged on their appearance everywhere, the better to ignore their skills; in a male, ugliness is always more forgivable.
Post a comment to add your view.
Read the full article here.

There was more on a similar theme, noting that the line about a 77-year wait for a British champion ignored 4 female winners.

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