cycling

Sexiest Pro Cyclists? Really? Good grief.

It’s not new. But my anger is. Last week I found this, Sexiest Female Pro Cyclists.

Of course, they’re modeling not racing. Cleavage is sexy, I guess, but speed isn’t?

You don’t do women athletes any favours when you portray women in sport as sexy, rather than athletic. Tracy blogs about that here.

But what makes it especially galling is that women athletes need to make their income modeling because women’s sports isn’t particularly lucrative. I know that not all models do it to because they need the money but for women athletes it’s often necessary.

And yes, it’s complicated. Women athletes model in part so as to affirm their femininity and attractiveness in a culture that largely denies those attributes to athletes.

Do these women freely choose it? Yes, sure. Would those choices be less problematic in a culture in which women athletes made the same salary as their male counterparts and in which we didn’t see a contradiction between athletic performance and sexiness? Yes.

I talk a bit about the tensions between sport and femininity in my post about women’s rugby and lingerie football, here.

If you’re really interested you need to look up the work of Charlene Weaving. Char was the student on whose committee Tracy and I served as readers. Her doctoral thesis on the objectification of female athletes first got us thinking about many of the subjects we’re blogging about now.

The three of us enjoyed meeting up again and talking on a panel on feminism and fitness just held at the University of Victoria as part of the Canadian Philosophical Association meeting. Future collaboration is afoot!

Oh, and that’s Marilyn Monroe below. Not a pro cyclist. Really.

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5 thoughts on “Sexiest Pro Cyclists? Really? Good grief.

  1. I was looking at the Forbes list of the 100 highest paid athletes today and it’s sad, though not particularly surprising, how few women make the list. By my count only three women are in the top one hundred and only one is in the top twenty-five. As you said, it’s a complicated problem, but more equitable pay could certainly help.

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  2. I really shouldn’t have checked the link you listed, but I did. Ugh. It turned my stomach and I threw up in my mouth a little bit. It would be nice to see a list like “The Most Badass Female Pro Cyclists” instead. One that showed them speeding down a hill or climbing a hill instead of the cleavage in your face shots. It’s depressing how little professional women athletes are paid.

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