Campaigners demanding that media networks stop focusing on female athletes appearance over their performance have produced a video to demonstrate their point.
Evidently some media professionals need to see a male-on-male example to appreciate that asking an athlete to “give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit” rather than asking about the game is insulting.
#CoverTheAthlete’s 80 second video shows key sportsmen being asked similar questions posed to women – such as “have you heard the controversy over your helmet hair?”
The majority don’t even bother to justify the reporter with an answer – yet #CoverTheAthlete have shared multiple instances of these questions being posed to their female colleagues.
Examples of appearance focused reporting include an NBC New York headline which read: “Olympic Beach Volleyball: Great Bodies, Bikinis and More.”
Another remark from a BBC commentator about tennis player Marion Bartoli reads: “I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14: ‘Listen, you’re never going to be a looker, you are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you’re never going to be 5ft 11, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that.’”
Regarding Serena Williams – the Number One Singles Tennis Player in the World, a Telegraph columnist wrote: “Generally, I’m all for chunky sports stars … but tennis requires a mobility Serena cannot hope to achieve while lugging around breasts that are registered to vote in a different US state from the rest of her.”
We hope that columnist was feeling pretty mobile soon after hitting ‘publish’ – quite obviously Williams can run faster than your average reporter and, FYI, she’s pretty good with a racket.