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I want to get something of a survey of opinion on what women think about women in sport today. Do you think that there is an additional pressure for female competitors to present "sex appeal" in order to be successful in sport? Does the image of a woman in sport somehow have to appeal to both men and women in marketing stakes? Do women seem to have only a token presence or token representation in sport today? Are women shunned for participating in certain sports? Are women in sport becoming one-dimensional in their public image? Is it different in professional and amateur level sports? Of course, I've got this on a cycling perspective, but I feel that the questions can be equally applied to all sports today.
Funnily enough I've been sending emails across the world in the past few months in regards to this topic and I've had some pretty good conversations with people about women in sport.
You don't need to present sex appeal in sport to be successful as a women, if you want to be financially stable then its something that many professional female athletes will consider. I don't want to start a debate on Liz Hatch but she is a women that took advantage of marketing and said hey if sex sells I'll make some money with a photo shoot.
I don't think there are a lot of men out there that womens sport actually appeal to, I often here men saying, "she's got too much muscle." One sport that I know men like to watch is beach volley ball... is it because of the skill level? If we dressed these women in burkas would the same amount of men watch it? (Just an example, I think it would be hard to play in a burka).
Women aren't shunned these days for participating in sport, not by the majority, but there will always be a minority who have a mentality that, you shouldn't try to hard, never be better than a man.
Take the Tour of Qatar for example, they piggy backed a women's race onto it and its doing very well, they also did the same thing at the TDU with a womens criterium, I also read an article where the organises from the Tour of Qatar said, "we are trying to encourage women's sport in this area."
I think although women are under represented due to hundreds of years of repression, I think we are doing ok, we have our leaders in every field, who are by far leaders.
And hey, if men are willing to go out and spend $30.00 on a calender of female cyclists and each women gets a cut, then why not use it for what it is. On one side you could call it objectification on the otherside its just taking advantage of one genders simple need.
Actually, another question I forgot to ask:
Do you think that women are put off from participating in sport by the thought that they will be viewed as eye-candy or obtain similar sorts of attention from men or a negative peer judgement from other women?
I don't think being viewed as eye candy is the issue, I would say that negative peer judgement from other women would be higher on the list, women can be brutal.
Like when I started riding and running and swimming a lot of women around me said, what are you doing that for...
I'm not ashamed to say that I love watching netball Not for the perve factor either.
I'd love to see more promotion of womens sport. Golf and tennis excluded. Boring no matter who's playing.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I know what you mean Shaun. It's a fast paced, action-filled, technical game for skilled players. Everything a good spectator sport should be.
My physio was telling a story about a guy he was treating for a knee injury. Asked how he got the injury, the guy stated it was playing men's netball, and that he represents Australia.
My physio thought he was joking, and was much embarassed by his failure to take his client seriously when he was assured it was true.
I quite enjoy watching women's sport. The womens downhill and XC at Stromlo was awesome. The women's cricket when it's on is pretty good too, as is the soccer. Tennis and golf ... meh. Women's surfing is ... OK. Unfortunately that's one field where the reduced power-to-weight is really obvious and the spectacular moves are lacking. That said, gotta give huge credit to the girls for getting out in conditions that would scare the pants off most blokes - eg, Teahupoo
However, I'm less concerned with watching elite level female sport than the low participation rates of females in general recreational sport. I'd very much like to see more women getting out and doing stuff just for the fun of it.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen
I unashamedly like women's sport for the perve factor. Of course if it was boring, I wouldn't watch. The English use 'fit' to mean sexually attractive. Yep. Mind you, attractive can mean all types of shapes.
Golf, of course is not a sport. Neither are darts or curling. Just very silly games.
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I coach women's hockey. Have coached on and off for 10yrs now. For me its all about the sport.
I lived next door to a friend of one of the women I coached in my 1st season. I was single at the time. One day I'm having a friendly chat with my neighbour, when she says:
"Look its none of my business really, and I don't care either way but, you're not gay are you?"
"No. Why?" says me
"Well, I was out with some of the girls from your team the other night and the conversation turned to men that get involved with womens team's all hitting on the players. Your team said it was great having you as a coach cause you are gay! I told them I was pretty certain you weren't, but they were positive you are."
I hadn't hit on any of my players or chased around after any, and there were some very cute ones I have to admit. I put them on the straight and narrow in regard to my sexuality and suggested if they had any suitable friends to set me up.
My current partner has no interest in competitive sports at all (she does own a Trek mtb though), but we were introduced by a woman that I coached.
In their defence, I owned a restaurant, drove a little 4wd, was a single male who treated them as players not objects, my parents had separated and I joked about how I lived with my mother, I took my tweeny niece to tweeny concerts which I enjoyed, I was seen with male friends attending the Dendy, I ski and scuba dive, I'm actually quite well spoken, I don't mind commenting on good looking males or pointing them out to the players (I christened one of the players boyfriends "smokin joe")and I had coached a netball team previously .
Disclosure - I work for a bike shop
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I've got to say as a Dad taking his daughters to the T-birds matches I felt a bit intimidated by the female crowd. Interesting when the shoe is on the other foot.
golf yeah, but tennis isn't that boring when you play it!
I don't know. Elena Dementieva certainly gets my heart rate going.
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