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.