I just read a news article that promted me to post about this. I have been thinking of posting about the female gymnasts all week but had been unmotivated to do so until now.
This female swimmer from Australia, Leisel Jones, who has won eight Olympic medals, was critized by Melbourne’s “Herald Sun” newspaper. They wrote an article, showing pictures of her from 2008 and photos taken more recently and claimed that she didn’t look as good as she did then.
The media outlet even published a photo caption stating: “The Olympic veteran’s figure is in stark contrast to that of 2008.” They also ran a poll asking readers whether Jones was “fit” enough to swim in the 2012 Olympics, Yahoo! Sports reported. Unsurprisingly, many haven’t taken too kindly to the focus on Jones’ physique — especially on the eve of the 2012 Summer Olympics Games in London. Public outcry prompted the Herald Sun to take down the poll soon after it was published.
Other Olympic athletes, including her teammates, spoke out in support of her and criticized the media’s coverage. Which is a good thing. But it’s absolutely ridiculous that this is an issue in the first place.
And now onto the sexism:
I have watched what has been shown of the gymnastics with my fiance. The NBC broadcasters wouldn’t shut up about the Russian female team being “divas” and kept going on about how much they cried after events when they saw their scores (something they only did to Jordan Weaver when she didn’t qualify for the all-around). The media has also apparently referred to the Dutch field hockey team as “vixens” . Not to mention the uproar over the female beach volley ball players being told they can wear more clothing due to the weather and the disgusting remarks by the media about how female athletes can’t be attractive and athletic.
I wish we lived in a world where female athletes and Olympians were not judged and ridiculed for their bodies. It just makes me sick that this is the type of media coverage that they are getting. You would think that the fact they have qualified to compete in the Olympic Games would be enough for people, but apparently not. And it’s very sad and disgusting.