body image · clothing · equality · femalestrength · gender policing

Is tennis trying to win a chauvinism/misogyny award?


First, the French Open decides one of Serena’s outfits back in June is cause to tighten up their dress code rules. I wrote about that only a few days ago in Let Women Wear What They Want. Yesterday, the U.S. Open penalized Alize Cornet for oh-so-briefly taking off her shirt during a match.

alize cornet shirt
Alize Cornet, French tennis player, taking off her shirt at the U.S. Open with her back turned, wearing a sturdy black sports bra

Have women’s bodies become so hyper-sexualized that we (okay, really men) can’t even see a woman’s sports bra without coming apart at the seams? Watch the video. Alize’s shirt is off for less than thirty seconds. On a break, she had changed out of a sweat-soaked dress. She accidentally put her fresh shirt on backwards. I’m in New York City. I can attest to just how blistering the heat is. Riding at 6 a.m. with a friend this morning, we felt like we needed amphibious bikes to wade through the stifling humidity. I start sweating just looking out my window at the sunshine.

We are super-saturated by media images of women in their scanties. Are you as tired of Victoria’s Secret billboard cleavages as I am? The more we sexualize women in the media, the less room there is for women to be comfortable in their bodies and in their strength.

Meanwhile, no surprise, the male tennis players are sitting around without their shirts on whenever they feel like it.

The powers-that-be blather on about respecting the sport as an excuse to sanction women. The women ARE respecting the sport. Now let’s give the women the respect they deserve!

5 thoughts on “Is tennis trying to win a chauvinism/misogyny award?

  1. Yes to all this! Tennis is one of he more stodgy bastions of sport misogyny, but it’s not the only one. And we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t (wear shirts, that is). Beach volleyball uniforms for women are bikinis with sports bra tops, and that seems regimented. But if a woman reveals her (as you pointed out) sturdy no-nonsense sports bra in the course of play, it’s as if she has created a sexual stir. So much to say and do about this. For now, thanks, and Grrrrr! 🙂

    1. The inequity between women’s beach volleyball uniforms and men’s leaves me a little speechless. It’s an amazingly athletic sport and WTF, do they think people won’t watch the women if there isn’t enough skin showing?

  2. I would like to have seen Alize’s reaction to the penalty. She’s a fighter and can be very dramatic….meanwhile Novak Djokovic was sitting on the next court half naked and being iced down.

  3. Respect the sport? Respect sports women and men first. Maybe it would be more sporting to schedule matches when the weather is more suitable for top performance play?
    Perhaps better facilities for players during matches would be a better solution, than chastising and singling out a particular player.
    I’m staggered at the continued, nit picking, underlying misogyny that is taken for granted both in sports, and in the media who report on it.
    Now then, when is a sports bra a crop top, and when is a crop top not a top?

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