Thursday, June 10, 2010

Women's bodies and the men's World Cup

The World Cup games start tomorrow (Friday, June 11), and I'll be watching as many of the games as possible. I was on Facebook earlier this week, reading some of my friends' discussions about the World Cup, when I found the "FIFA 2010 World Cup - United States Fan Page" and was not pleased with the picture on the page*.

Image: A screen shot of part of the Facebook fan page mentions above, with an profile image on the left featuring the torso and arm of a dirt-splattered woman in a sports bra who is bending backward and balancing a soccer ball on her chest.

Objectifying women to advertise and sell everything from hamburgers to cars is commonplace. However, this particular image bothers me because of the numerous barriers women face when it comes to being accepted as true athletes. This sort of image, which associates women with the sport not as competitors but as objects for consumption of real people (read men) who can enjoy and even participate in the sport, is troublesome because it relegates women's bodies to the realm of fantasy and may help keep them off the field.

UPDATE: Reader rwatuny alerted me to the fact that the picture in question on this Facebook page is a modified one that is part of a larger photoshoot, apparently for the Chinese version of GQ magazine.

*This image is no longer the profile image on the fan page but can still be found in the page's photo collection. I was unable to determine if this was a picture that had been created specifically by the page's administrator(s) or if it had been taken from another source.


rwatuny said...

The image used is actually part of a bigger photograph.

You can find it and other pictures from the same photoshoot here.

It seems they were made for the chinese version of GQ.

Amelia said...

Wow. Thanks for the links. It's nice to have the photo in some context. And the images from that site really seem to provide more fuel for the argument I was trying to make about women being stuck in the realm of fantasy when it comes to sports, instead of being considered real athletes (that's why they have to be practically naked, even if they're shown "playing" the sport).