Sexy Athletes or Sex Objects? by Sim Badesha

Sexy Athletes or Sex Objects?

by Sim Badesha

The media’s representation of women is known to be negative and harmful. Images of girls and women are often stereotypical and exaggerated to signify the ideal feminine form. It’s also well known that girls and women are customarily sexualized by the media. Sexualized images of females are used to sell everything from shoes to cars and beer. Sex sells. Women are objectified, being at the same level as the object being sold.

What about sexy female athletes? They aren’t always selling goods. Sure, there are sneakers and athletic drinks, but sometimes they’re just posing. And the posing is not the same as male athletes. There’s a major difference of how female athletes are portrayed in comparison to male sport stars. Some women athletes are praised on their athletic skills, but most seem to be sexual objects. Yes, some choose to pose in certain ways for certain magazines, but have you noticed how many times Anna Kournikova’s physical attractiveness has been discussed rather than her backhand?

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Above – Article by Sports Illustrated.com

Why are women athletes sexualized? According to Daniels (2009) sexualization of female athletes in the mass media reinforces patriarchal power and “devalues women’s athleticism”. She continues that “a way to limit female power is to sexualize, and therefore, trivialize women athletes” (Daniels, 2009). Remember when American radio show host, Don Imus, called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” in 2007? Of course he was fired, but this shows the level of respect female athletes receive. Some women pose sexually, knowing it will be accepted much more than a normal pictorial.

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Above-Danica Patrick – Indy Car racer

What gets me is when images are purposely taken of the athlete to make her sexy. I mean the ‘up-the-skirt shot’ in tennis or she’s fixing her swimsuit. The image isn’t used to sell anything, and really doesn’t make sense to use when discussing the athlete’s game. It’s really a shame when someone’s hard work and abilities are second to the sexualized image.

Sim Badesha is participating in Violence, Media Representations and Families a media literacy program joint initiative between Kwantlen Polytechnic University Sociology Department, First Voices and Battered Women’s Support Services

One Response to Sexy Athletes or Sex Objects? by Sim Badesha

  1. A great issue which is discuse there. no dought media playing a bad role agains t women, bt in some cases women are geting fame by media