Olympic Porn

One of my cousins visited recently & we watched part of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics as well as Women’s Beach Volleyball, which she proclaimed to be simply “Olympic Porn”. I thought this was an entertaining commentary, especially in light of the video game based on beach volleyball.

Until I realized that it was indicative of a greater sexism in the Olympics: that of displaying women’s bodies for consumption even as they compete in respected sports. FeministLawProfs first turned me on to the story, but it was soon picked up on in other feminist sources I frequent. Since my only interest in Summer Olympic sports is Judo, and I can only get that online, I’ve not been watching the Olympics & did not pick this out for myself. It is generally the case, however, that women’s uniforms in most sports are more revealing than those of their male counter parts. Hoyden About Town in Australia gives us a side-by-side comparison.

And the results are shocking (to me) since it had never occurred to me, especially after the big to-do about Nike’s LZR Racer, that Olympic sports uniforms filled any purpose other than performance. Stateside, the Reclusive Leftist reminds us that women’s competence decreases proportional to the revealingness of their clothing.

Food for thought the next time I watch sports.

13 Comments

  1. Ah, but there is this photo going around the internet of Michael Phelps in one of those newfangled swimsuits, and while he is covered from shoulders knees, that thing is so tight and sheer that nothing…and I mean nothing…is left to the imagination.

    I saw it, of all places, on the knitting site I frequent.

    Anyway, my point is, if the women are being objectified, then the men are beginning to go down that same road. Doesn’t make any of it respectful, of course.

  2. Unfortunately, it is all marketing. It is a sad commentary, but it was genius from the business end of the olympics.
    Viewership has skyrocketed due to the current uniforms in women’s sports. The truth of the matter is, when women compete in sports normally dominated by men, the events are simply boring. Why watch a world class women’s basketball game when any average men’s college team could kill them. The action is slower, and the shots are not as good.
    The solution is for women to find sports that are truly women’s events. Something that they would dominate even if men did compete. Unfortunately, the balance beam is one of very few good examples of this.

  3. No. Probably not. But some of the women on that knitting site seem to sure hope it is.

    I think it is interesting, however, that especially in places where women think men probably aren’t listening/watching, women can be as objectifying of men as men are of women. And often aren’t any more subtle about it.

  4. You do know what a “cup” is? And how hilarious a man would look wearing a cup and a Speedo at the same time? But seriously, men face a two-edged sword in this department: either fix their equipment in one place and try to pad it (a cup), or utilize what evolution designed to reduce excruciating pain–which requires that things move about. A man doesn’t throw himself hard onto the ground in a Speedo for the same reason he doesn’t straddle a balance beam.

    Fair’s fair,and I’d have no objection to the men playing topless. But hey, there’s always diving. They wear skimpy little Speedos. And back before the LZR, the swimmers did too. Check out some archival Mark Spitz footage.

    Beach volleyball may be the only women’s sport that successfully appeals to the beer-chugging male demographic. It has a pro circuit, so it’s not as if the competitors are being dragged into the arena kicking and screaming. More like they running into the arena thinking “big endorsement contract.” Otherwise, it’s not men watching all the synchronized pixies-in-tight-uniforms sports, including the most pornorific fake sport of them all–rhythmic gymnastics.

    Incidentally, I was googling about and chanced upon the “Women’s Sports Foundation (founded by Billie Jean King).” There on the front page: women’s beach volleyball! With pictures!

  5. A man doesn’t throw himself hard onto the ground in a Speedo for the same reason he doesn’t straddle a balance beam.

    My point is that women have similar anatomical/wardrobe issues that we just buck up about because it’s so expected that we do things in certain garb. I must admit that, while I do know what cups are, I don’t often come into contact with them (my husband wears a jock strap in judo, not because of strikes but because when he falls, it helps keep everything from flapping around). I’m not sure if you were, therefore, being serious or facetious about wearing cups + speedos. I’m sure they do nothing for aerodynamics.

    Also? Totally with you about gymnastics. That one’s even creepier.

  6. krp

    Society does have a double standard — it is “permissible/acceptable” to see outlines of nipples and labias but not penises and scrotums. What is the aversion to the male form?

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