Category Archives: Olympics

“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.