by Adrianna Spyker
I’d like to start with my disclaimer for my personal opinion of the “Lingerie Football League”. I do not doubt that the women who are participating in this so-called “sport” do in fact have some sort of athletic ability. I am not about to slander them for that at all. I am concerned and have an opinion on the activity itself and how without a doubt women are portrayed as sex objects.
The Lingerie Football league (FLF) may be the one male dominated fantasy to final come to life, not only on the small scale but for North American recognition. The FLF is composed of teams across Canada and the USA who train to compete with one another for the ultimate championship. Basically, it is the NFL or CLF for women who play in lingerie.
“Such a beautiful thang”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFXYO87Gow0
Now, by all means whoever wants to participate go and do your thing. I personally could not subject myself to what I consider a sexist mockery of my own athletic ability. That is why this whole “sexy sports” concept gets to me. It was a few months back when I saw the cover story of a local newspaper with a full page image of the FLF and the barely dressed female athletes. It wasn’t that the women were partially naked that disturbed me, but the fact that they received the attention for a cover story. The number one reason, which caused my anger for the cover story was that, as a local female athlete, I along with a group of other athletic female individuals, felt disrespected, left out, and unappreciated for our athleticism. It did not matter which sport we all played (rugby), but what mattered was that it seemed as though for us and our league , which is widely popular and continuously growing across BC and Canada, to get an recognition that we needed to somehow pose or portray ourselves in a sexual way.
As high level athletes, we all need to train hard to keep on top of our game. Just as in any competitive sport, we require discipline and intense fitness if we want to remain on top. I have been fortunate enough to play in a Premier League of Rugby (which is the top competing league in BC) with and against an assortment of players, who play for provinces across Canada and for team Canada. Yet, with all of these amazing athletes and games going on all year, I have not seen one cover story or let alone a solid article on anyone or anything. That must be our fault right? It’s because we are too covered up. Our athletic skills and talents are to be hidden because we are wearing too much clothes. I do not feel the need to apologize for not taking the time to look and be sexy while I am playing a sport I am passionate about.
This is all just an example of how women tend to be portrayed when they are given the attention for being athletes. Most athletic consumer advertisements revolve around the sexist portrayal of women. In almost all sports commercials, women are in sports tops showing their midsection and or small shorts. I find it rare to see a whole body of a woman in athletic marketing but rather portions of her body.
It is clear that in both males and females athleticism is seen as something sexy and the body is admired, but males and female bodies are portrayed to be admired differently. Men are seen as someone strong, solid and a definition of power whereas women are lean, sexy, and curved in such a sexually appealing way.
My concern with the continuous attention towards female sexuality is that it will eventually take away the attention from the true talents and equal abilities that women and men have. Generally speaking, both men and women can watch a male dominated sport for the quality of the game, whereas I am sure that men are more likely to be watching something such as the “Lingerie Football League” for other reasons. Female dominated sports lack attention for the quality of their game versus the need and or desire for sexiness for the audience. In addition to watching sports, basketball is an entertaining sport. There is a WNBA, Women’s National Basketball Association, where women with amazing talents play competitive basketball but you don’t hear much about it.
There are so many talented women who deserve attention for their athleticism and just that. I don’t want to see their talent being covered up but them dressing down. Ability should be seen with your clothes on.
I keep in mind images of women athletes that embody power, ability and self-respect, and who can probably play better than some of their male counterparts.
Adriana Spyker 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