The New York Times does soft core pornography feature of female professional tennis players

Earlier I posted that today, August 26th, is Women’s Equality Day. No sooner did I post my blog and a colleague (thanks ED!) sent me something so distrubing I had to do another post today. What I will write about next is a perfect example of why Women’s Equality Day is important.

In my previous and many other posts, I argue and researchers have proven time and again, that female athletes are rarely seen in sport media and when they are, athletic competence is minimized (click here), and their bodies are sexualized as commodities to be consumed.

The most recent and blatantly sexist, disgusting and marginalizing example of sexualizing female athletes is a piece the New York Times just ran titled “Women Who Hit Hard.” The piece features professional female tennis players and I’m sure is meant to capture attention leading up to the 2010 US Open, and is replete with an article, slide show and slow motion videos of each player hitting tennis balls in sexy attire to eerie music. I’ve seen a LOT of examples of sport media that sexualizes female athletes, but this tops the list.

This is soft core pornography and has NOTHING to do with athleticism or tennis. It is pure exploitation of female athletes.

2 Replies to “The New York Times does soft core pornography feature of female professional tennis players”

  1. Is it really as cut-and-dry as you claim, that this is simply soft-core pornography? I would agree that it isn’t simply sports or athletic display, but it uses those components to create what I would correctly call art, I think.

    Serena Williams, for example, is only filmed closely from mid-chest up, and is wearing pretty much the most UN-revealing outfit I’ve ever seen her wear.

    Kim Clijsters is conservatively dressed as well. I’m still going through the videos, but I think there is at least room for debate on WHAT this actually is…


  2. I agree with the comment of the woman on the Women Talk Sports blog. I looked at all the pictures and videos, and although I didn’t like most of what they were wearing and would rather they be in tennis gear, I didn’t think any of it came close to the level of soft-core porn, and I understand they were trying to use athletes as a style of art, and those types of clothes went better with that theme.

    I thought the athleticism of the women was actually show very well, definitely not downplaying their musculature and power at all. It was showing that muscles and power, and women being strong, is a beautiful thing.

    Also I think women’s bodies are beautiful to the degree that they’re like artwork, and I don’t think there’s a problem with showing beautiful bodies as art. It was not diminishing their athleticism in that endeavor, in my view.

    This did not even come close to being soft-core porn.


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