Thursday, August 09, 2012

More on the size of female Olympians

This is a brief follow-up--or in-addition-to--to the post about the lack of larger sized apparel for this summer's female Olympians.
Apparently--and I had not been aware of this--several female athletes competing in London have been scrutinized and commented on because of their weight leading into the games. I think this is quite interesting in light of all the press about how equal these Olympics are; how the US team is comprised of more female athletes than male athletes; how every nation finally has a female competitor. US-based media call this the "Title IX Olympics"--somewhat problematically.
But, of course, things aren't equal--on either concrete numbers (still more events for men) or in treatment. At the opening of the games Christine Brennan of USA Today declared "Finally--It's all about the women."
Yep. It's still about how female they are (i.e., Caster Semenya and whomever else was secretly gender tested during these games or leading up to the games) and how fit-not-fat they are.
The weightlifters referenced in my previous post are an obvious target; but other women have been called out as well, including Australian swimmer Liesel Jones, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, and the entire Brazilian soccer team. Particularly egregious was that Ennis was criticized by a member of British athletics official. She won gold by the way.
Last night, watching the women's 10M platform prelims, we heard about diver Viola's battle with an eating disorder that, in part, caused her long absence from the Olympics.
Great responses though from the various targeted athletes. American weightlifter Holly Mangold said: I'm not saying everyone is an athlete but I am saying an athlete can come in any size.
And British weightlifter Zoe Smith, who has been criticized via social media for looking too masculine, said "We don't lift weights in order to look hot."
Wait, a woman can do something that doesn't involve the ultimate goal of attracting a heterosexual male? What have the Olympics come to?

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