On Lunchboxes And The WTA Upskirt Parade

I remember British athlete Linford Christie and I remember that there was much to do about his ‘lunchbox’ – some press people had deemed it necessary to comment on the man’s genitals, highly visible in his lycra track gear. It was inappropriate, Christie shouldn’t be distracted by all that, he was a serious sportsman – what were these press hounds thinking? The case even went to court.

How different is the treatment that top female tennis players get. Anna Sharapova may have been beaten straight off the centercourt this week by an unknown fellow Russian, but pictures of her – and especially her ‘revealing’ outfit (The Guardian) – graced the internet pages of lots of newspapers. And whereas the TV audience gets the usual view of the court from high above and behind one of the players, photographers all seem to have their cameras on hip height – when there’s ladies on the court, that is. And the shutters click especially when the Sharapovas or the Ivanovices of this world are lifting their little skirts or shorts to get a new ball. Lifting their skirts – now that’s 1950s ooh-la-la titillation for you. So how is it that talking about Christie’s lunchbox merits a court case, while the constant, incessant sexualization of female tennis is totally accepted?

Track gear as worn by Christie is, after such abominations as  speedskating suits, perhaps the least glamourous of all sports gear. It’s made with performance in mind rather than looks and consequently it’s not for sale in any old clothing shop like football jerseys or tennis shorts. And therin lies the catch, of course. Little blonde girls like Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova or hard-bodied sportswomen like former German star Steffi Graf wearing the latest, street-wearable Nike or Adidas outfits boost sales, while athletes like the charming Belgian sprint cannon Kim Gevaert by comparison don’t succeed in making the slightest bulge in the sales graphs.

Think about that. Gevaert’s gear is made with performance in mind and Sharapova’s gear is made with fashion and sales in mind. Gevaert may eek out a living from running around stadiums and Sharapova doesn’t need to work at all anymore. Gevaert is in the sports business while Sharapova, an athletic and highly skilled sportswoman in her own right, is in the fashion business.

I think it’s about time for WTA tennis players (and their male colleagues, by the way) to start wearing clothing made to perform, like all other serious sportsmen and -women do. Maybe that’s one way to force the one-track minds of the newspapers’ photo editors into another direction – that of sports, not upskirts. It’s not even too unlikely that soon one player in this highly competitive game will appear who chooses performance gear over flapping skirts and pointless frills. Let’s hope she will be a winner.

[For all those who come here looking for upskirts, I removed all the links.]

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5 Comments

  1. This reminds me of a specially randy text by Dutch stand-up comedian Theo Maassen, who in one of his shows tells us how his local Carnival organization financed itself (and a lot more) with the proceedings of the sale of pictures (later also of movies) of the carnival cheerleaders (‘dansmarietjes’ ) while dancing and doing quite other things with the executive committee (‘Raad van Elf’). ‘Beentjes omhoog! Klik!’ (Legs up! Click!)

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