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Out of Focus
By Erynn Porter
I have to admit it… I’m not a huge fan of sports. I’m not an overzealous fan of the Olympics. But I do enjoy watching athletes from around the world compete. I like seeing how hard they work, the utter joy on their faces as they win, the sportsmanship of every athlete congratulating the winner. I’m also a fan of feminism, of equal rights, which is why sometimes I watch Rio on mute. I love watching women (yes, women, not girls) smash records and become the pride of their families and countries. I love watching their hard work and dedication come together in a single epic moment. So why are the commentators and spectators paying attention to all the wrong things?
Take for example, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú, who absolutely destroyed the world record in the 400 Meter Individual Medley, by almost two seconds. Oh, that was while she got gold, by the way. Instead of zooming into her lane to see her reaction, Dan Hicks, an NBC commentator, turned to Hosszú’s husband, Shane Tusup, and said he was “the person responsible for her performance.” I must have missed him jumping into the pool and pushing her along. While Tusup is her coach, Hosszú was in the pool. Not him. She is the one responsible for killing it in the pool. She trained, she practiced, she got gold.
Then there was the Chicago Tribune’s disastrous tweet about Corey Cogdell-Unrein, who has been to the Olympics three times and just won bronze in trap shooting. But to the Tribune she was “Wife of a Bear’s lineman.” They couldn’t even bother giving her name. Oh, and this her second win, she won bronze in the 2008 Beijing games, but the real accomplishment is being married to a football player. They have since been kind enough to name her in a second tweet but offered no apology. Many twitter users have destroyed the Tribune since.
Alexa Moreno, a twenty-two-year-old Mexican gymnast was body shamed after her competition. She finished 31st, which is actually pretty good because gymnastics are underrepresented in Mexico. But let’s not focus on that. Let’s zoom in on her body size. Twitter users compared her to Peppa Pig, claimed she ate another gymnast, and many more hateful comments. Fun fact: She is only ninety-nine pounds but she is still “fat.” Luckily with all social media, where there are bullies, there are supporters. The problem is that even the support was focused on how she looked.
Korea Times ran a story about Kim Yeon-Goung, who is a 6 ft-3 volleyball player. Joking that finding a boyfriend will be impossible because she is so tall.
Speaking of volleyball, how about media outlets focusing on uniform choices of the Egyptian and German volleyball squads? Oh so lovingly dubbing it “Bikini VS Burka.” Oh what fun!
I almost hesitate to mention Fox News for many reasons but why not? Fox News opens Sports Court with host, Tamara Holder, smiling into the camera saying, “Sex sells.” Then she proceeds to say female athletes are “sexing it up” by wearing makeup during their competitions.
Try to calm your rage, I know it’s already bad.
Holder then asks an innocent question of is it empowering? Do these greatest athletes in the world need makeup to feel stronger or is it a fashion statement? Problem is… the question is directed to two middle age men.
That’s right, they asked men who clearly have no idea about makeup. Brilliant!
The first man, Mark Simone, says the whole point of the Olympics is product endorsement which means cosmetic companies will bring a lot of revenue. Fair.
The second man, the real star of the show, Bo Dietl, interrupts Simone and says, I quote here, “Why should I have to watch some chick’s zits or some guy’s zits on his face?”
Um… because they worked their asses off to be there while you are sitting on your couch watching them?
Then he goes on to say, “Why not put blush on her lips?”
Clearly this man is an expert.
“I’d like to see a person who wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful.”
Screw you, Dietl.
To be fair, he does say that men should wear it too but that is not the point. THESE ATHLETES ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD! WHY ARE WE FORGETTING THAT?
Dietl then turns to Holder and points out how good she looks and asks what she looks like when she gets out of bed. To which, she smiled awkwardly and had to play along.
Side note: Dietl is a former NYPD Detective. What does that have to do with the Olympics?
The rest of the interview is just awful with Dietl constantly going back to Holder pointing out how pretty she is, how great her legs are. Dietl kept saying that no one wants to support a winner who “looks like a dish rag.” Meanwhile the athletes are long forgotten.
I deserve a gold medal for not breaking my computer or TV.
#Real #Olympics2016 #Rio #Sexism #GenderInequality
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