August 12, 2004

Olympians in Playboy.

Back in the early days of the women's movement, encouraging young women to take up sports had absolutely no connection to producing the kind of women who would pose nude in Playboy. But the Olympian women of today are posing in Playboy. (Oh, the link is work safe. The only picture in this NYT article is of a high jumper, Amy Acuff, at her sport.)
[F]emale athletes are showing off their bodies in nonsports magazines and making no apologies for it.

That is unlike four years ago, before the Sydney Games, when the swimmer Jenny Thompson's photograph appeared in Sports Illustrated - with only her fists covering her breasts - and generated controversy. At the time, Donna Lopiano, the executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation, told reporters, "Any exposure in a sports magazine that minimizes athletic achievement and skill and emphasizes the female athlete as a sex object is insulting and degrading."

I don't read much about sports, but it seems to me that kind of austere talk is not used so much anymore. I think there is a lessening of feminist sensibility generally, and I think it's a bad thing that people are witlessly saying things like this again, but I think we can safely proceed without the overdone worrying about "objectification" that used to be much more common. And if anyone wants to accuse me of being hypocritical, I'll defend myself.

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