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Lingerie Football: Affirmative Action, or Frat House Attraction?

April 13, 2011

Alright, forgive me for adopting the clichéd stance of the self-righteous empowered woman here, but seriously, are you kidding me!? Lingerie football?! What an incredibly sad day for the women’s liberation movement! What  a horrific step backward! Sorry mom; your generation fought the good fight, but there is still a long way left to go. So much for Title 9 but never fear ladies, you’ll still get your day in the sun… and a kick ass tan line too!

Uh oh – I’m afraid that my latent feminism might be peeping out on this issue (can’t have that) – let’s put it differently…

What could be better than paying hot-bodied women to run around in skimpy underwear tackling each other to the ground and rolling around in a sweaty heap? How about not paying them at all? It’s genius! Rob Ford wishes he’d invented it! Everybody wins! Franchise owners make scags of money, male fans get their hard-ons, and these talented young women get to strut their stuff on an international stage and kick-start a sure-to-be promising career with a spread in Playboy. Every little girl’s dream!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get how this makes money. Men love football. Men love hot chicks. Lingerie football is just a matter of cutting out the middleman (the discomforting homoerotic overtones of male team sports), extending the half time show, and giving the Dallas cheerleaders helmets and a pig skin to throw around. It’s like a glimpse at paradise on earth!

Now don’t get me wrong – we all objectify athletes. And who would stand up and condemn that? These people’s careers depend on their maintenance of peak physical form (and are traditionally well-paid for it). I like my football players in ass-hugging spandex as much as the next girl, my sister had a poster of Beckham on her bedroom wall at fourteen – we all do it to some degree. That isn’t the problem.

The way I see it, if young women want to play football in a bra and panties, I have zero problem with that. But if young women want to play football competitively, and the only way they can do so is in their underwear and for no salary, then that is a serious problem. It sends the message loud and clear that women’s pro sports are not legitimate in their own right – but on par, instead, with amateur girl-on-girl mud wrestling in a college bar.

The argument has been tirelessly made (by men) that women’s pro sports will not be lent the same legitimacy as men’s unless it can become equally competitive. But if the only way for young female athletes to access competitive opportunities in sport is by means as degrading as this, it is little wonder why a relative few women take an interest.

Am I alone in thinking that it’s bad enough that in the last year Ontario has jumped on board the UFC  bandwagon, does Toronto really need to stick it’s fingers in the Lingerie Football pie now as well?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. sierra permalink
    April 14, 2011 7:18 pm

    I never had a Beckham poster on my wall. Perhaps you have me confused with your other sister- the east Indian one living in Sussex

  2. May 9, 2011 12:43 am

    RE: “But if young women want to play football competitively, and the only way they can is in their underwear, then that is a serious problem.”

    Take a look at http://www.iwflsports.com/ for another option for women interested in playing football.

    Not disagreeing with your ideas, just wanted to make sure this was out there.

  3. Mon permalink
    August 14, 2011 8:33 pm

    Hi Ariel

    Good on you for taking the stance you have – I sometimes feel alone in mine so its heartening to hear other people who see things like this and think ‘what the..?”!
    I am so tired of seeing this type of thing – this is why young women start believing their worth is based solely on what men think of them – they’re only worth something if blokes think they’re hot. A story ran about this on TV here in Australia, and it was calling the girls ‘genuine athletes’ and saying they were tough, played hard etc… of course all that is fine, but you get to the part about them having to play in their underwear – how can you try to make that look like anything other than what it is??? Why do they keep trying to make it seem legit when it is just another way for men to use women for their own amusement or gain? They could at least have the decency to be straight up about what they’re doing – it is what it is, and it sucks!

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