“We are objects, not athletes. Ogle us. Desire us.”

Make me gag. Look at me, look at me. I’m not an athlete. I don’t threaten your power…Some of the captions to the September 2004: ‘Women of the Olympics” issue make me cringe to call myself an athlete. I understand the financial and social incentives for these athletes to be photographed and quoted for these articles. However, to subject yourself to the male hegemony as they have done in this article seems to give up any power they have gained through their self-assertion as an athlete.

(see article Posing for Magazines: Athlete or Sexual Plaything?)

Male athletes vs. Attractive Female Athletes

This article calls our attention to the different ways in which talented male and female athletes are seen. Males are noted because of their athletic ability whereas the females are noted more frequently for their physical beauty. Amanda Beard is an attractice swimmer, this fact setting her apart from her peers and exalting her above them to stardom as a celebrity – marked by her upcoming appearance in Playboy magazine.

“Female athletes have as high a profile as they ever have — I would wager there are more famous female athletes now than at any time in history. But to the extent that those athletes have been able to cash in on their fame, it has been as endorsers more than as athletes.” How does this problematize the effects of Title IX? I’m not trying to claim that Amanda Beard shouldn’t pose in playboy or that other, less “attractice” athletes should, but the focus on beauty within female athletics leaves us attached to the old ideals of femininity, as willingly subject to the male gaze.

I would challenge this article’s conclusion that Amanda Beard is hurting womens sports because in support of this conclusion his lists the numorous times she’s posed in a swimming suit, and a non-competition suit at that.

“[H]er athletic fame is the fame of a model.” This statement should be inverted. No, I do not believe that that “most sports fans know who Amanda Beard is”, and they absolutely do not know her best stroke. By posing in these magazines she brings herself recognition, bringing fame to her body first and foremost with her athletic accomplishments mentioned in the captions – marginalizing the achievements that Title IX hoped could spur further generations of athletes, not athletic models.

Quotas and Gender Equality

This video demonstrates a media spin on the effects of Title IX. By using phrases refering to men’s programs that “had to be eliminated” due to “quotas and gender equality”, the video sends a message that the men’s wrestling team used as an example was cut due to Title IX. The school claims that the team was cut because the wrestling funding now had to be used to fund a women’s sport. However, the failure here is to properly allocate the university’s funds. While the University of Florida’s football team brings in millions a year, a small fraction of its generous funding would have kept the wrestling team alive on UF’s campus. This problem of funding discrepancy among different teams at universities across the nation is often hidden behind the facade of Title IX’s negative effect of men’s sports.

Male Practice Players

This article outlines the debate of the use of male practice players among NCAA women’s teams nationwide. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics has deemed these players problematic, finding it necessary to limit or ban their use among NCAA teams.

One issue lies in the question of the need of these male players. Used mainly in sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball, many coaches argue that top female athletes beed male competitors to better their skills. 

  •  “‘They make us better, plain and simple,’ says Brenda Frese, head coach of the Maryland [basketball] team. ‘They’re bigger,  stronger, quicker, and they can raise the level of intensity of practice.'”

However, the Committee on Women’s Athletics finds the need to limit the use of male practice players. When teams and coaches alike have said that the male’s do not take away practice time from any of the female athletes, how might the use of the male practice players take away from the female athlete’s experience? What about the males who participate – are they demasculated? Practice player for Maryland’s women’s basketball team, Sean McGrew, was greatly affected by the talent of the women be played against.

  • “Defending Jade Perry, a reserve forward, quickly taught Mr. McGrew what to expect. ‘Jade hit two fadeaway jump shots on me the first two times I was guarding her,’ he says. ‘I was like, OK, I’ve got to pick this up.'”

 Does this call into question Mr. McGrew’s masculinity? If he is challenged by a woman in a contest of physical strength and athletic prowess, how can he be defined as a man within a culture that depends deeply on the disparities between men and women?

Is the use of male practice players at odds with Title IX’s goals? Physiologically, men, as a whole, have the capacity to be stronger than females. If using male practice players would only strengthen the women’s skills, doesn’t their use improve women’s sports? Or, does it call into question fundamental flaws that still exist in the NCAA in the form of discrepancies between male and female sports? This article marks an interesting point in the progression of female collegiate sports teams after Title IX.

Title IX’s blanket

Title IX in recent years has been criticized for its use in colleges and universities to cover how they are allocating funds to a few high powered teams. This article examines the case of James Madisons University, where teams from both sexes have been cut in supposed accordance with Title IX laws.

Playing Unfair

Sports Illustrated Covers: Post Title IX

The women on these covers are given agency through their photographic depiction by means of their strong stances and the camera angles of the photos (take from below the subjects). Acceptions to the progress these more recent photos are exemplified in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, other model cover shots, and the cover of Anna Kournikova (photographs taken looking down onto the subjects).

the-real-dream-team-softball.jpgthe-model-dream-team.jpg In starck contrast are the “Dream Team” photos of the U.S. Softball Team and trio of models – whose “dream” do they represent? Why does a magazine devoted to sports need to create this alternative Dream Team?

anna-kournikova-tennis-is-secondary.jpgDoes the photo of Anna Kournikova, by subscribing to the depiction of the Continue reading