Misogyny at the Olympics

Excerpted from Christie Blatchford, writing for The National Post,  July 29, 2012

LONDON — As it turns out, the age-old question is not the needy and insecure, “Do I look fat in this?” but rather the misogynist, “Does she look fat in that?”

The London Olympics are just a couple of days old, but already Aussie swimmer Leisel Jones and the Brazilian women’s soccer team (and two months before that, the British beach volleyball women) have had their weight and fitness publicly called into question.

And then on Aug. 2, 2012, Leilla Brillson writes about Weightlifter Zoe Smith and her takedown of close-minded jerks, which she recommends “should be read by women everywhere. Not only is her physique amazing, but the positivity and cheer with which she approaches her sport makes her a real champion.”

18-year old Team GB weighlifter Zoe Smith, who set a new British clean-and-jerk record and personal best, blogs a response to her critics who comment on her muscular build, saying “she looks like a bloke.”

 “We don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

“Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.”

For an intersectionality perspective, check this article on media coverage of female athletes in the Paralympic Games.

 Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics

Volume 14, Issue 9, 2011

Special Issue: Disability in the global sport arena: a sporting chance

Contested issues in research on the media coverage of female Paralympic athletes

Contested issues in research on the media coverage of female Paralympic athletes


pages 1182-1191

Version of record first published: 07 Dec 2011



The Paralympic Games are considered to be the second biggest sporting event in the world, after the Summer Olympic Games, however, research on the media coverage of athletes with disabilities is in its infancy. More specifically, there is a lack of studies focusing on whether quantitative and qualitative differences exist in the manner in which the female and male Paralympic athletes are represented in the print media. In contrast, there is an extensive body of scholarly research on the differential media treatment of female and male Olympic athletes. This article includes three aspects: (1) a brief summary of the media coverage of non-disabled female athletes, with the aim of providing some research indicators that could be used in analogous studies of Paralympic sport; (2) the examination of the limited media literature on the portrayals of female and male Paralympic athletes; and (3) a discussion of possible future research in this relatively unexplored, area of media, gender and Paralympic sport.

~ by artpoped on August 3, 2012.

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