I’m not a big fan of ESPN The Magazine, as I’ve written about their cover photos and coverage of women’s sport in a previous blog….or should I say LACK of coverage that focuses on athleticism, rather than being feminine and sexy.
Their latest series of 6 covers for the October 19, 2009 “The Body Issue” has Serena Williams posing naked (thanks for the head’s up EH). It seems to me a recent pattern has emerged.
Here is the pattern:
1) A Black female athlete performs well and dominates opponents,
2) During the course of competition she acts outside prescribed gender norms (i.e., looks like a man, yells and argues with a referee),
3) Subsequently she is grilled and sanctioned by the public and the media,
4) Therefore she has to recover by performing versions of the female athlete apologetic by literally apologizing like S. Williams, and/or highlighting heterosexy femininity on the cover of magazines. I’m talking about first, Caster Semenya and now Serena Williams (see picture here).
Underlying sport media portrayals of highly talented Black female athletes are racism and sexism. I suppose my blog title should really read…A Pattern Has REemerged.
NOTE: If you want to see the making of The Body Issue and gain insight to the ‘issue’ (and see a whole lot naked) click here.