This morning, I was confronted with the reality that some people are still so jaded in their ignorance and comfortable in their privilege, that they view sponsorship of female athletes and their objectification as women “cashing in.” Not only is this assertion unfair and hurtful to female athletes, it’s a gross oversimplification of a complex issue. I was especially shocked that this assertion came from a professor. I was not surprised it came from this professor, because I would never underestimate this teacher’s penchant for shock-value (and I’m hoping they were just playing devil’s advocate)- but that a professor wouldn’t understand that assimilation into femininity and hyper-sexuality by female athlete is not really a choice. Sure, these athletes could choose not to play the sport they love, be labeled a lesbian, or endure very personal criticism to avoid committing to a feminine standard, but it’s a choice men are far less often asked to make (and one with lower stakes in my opinion).
Female athletes like Danica Patrick, who use their sexuality and femininity to increase their visibility are adapting to an unfair world, not manipulating consumers. The idea that women are anything but victims in this situations is sexist drivel.
Attractive female athletes do gain greater fame and are given more opportunities, but that the accusation that they are “laughing all the way to the bank” undermines the progress they stand for, their ability and humanity.
Much like Ann Coulter’s takedown of the 9/11 widows, this professor perpetuating the toxic idea that women always have an angle is beyond degrading. We should be angry and upset that women have to use their sexuality to be taken seriously, not accusing them of taking advantage of it.
If you pose dignity in womanhood and success as incompatible goals, you guarantee that they will not be reconciled.
If men keep being so damned ridiculous I’m going to lead a Solanus-style revolution and me and Danica Patrick are going to laugh all the way to the sperm bank so we don’t have to deal with these jokers (fem lit joke, y’all).