Using Sex Appeal to Market Our Athletes a Case Analysis Into This Growing Issue Term Paper

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¶ … Sex Appeal to Market our Athletes?

Women are performing very well in sports. Since women have become part in the world of "sports" and/or athletics, the capabilities of women are becoming continuously noticeable. However, the skills of the women in various sports categories are not the only thing noticeable nowadays because the kinds of clothing and the concepts of advertisements involving women are also becoming conspicuous.

Women are very good in sports, but it seems that their ability to play excellently are not the only thing that people loved watching but also the scantily uniforms being designed for them. Many would have recognized the fact that the physical attributes of the female athletes are more highlighted today than their skills.

The media is helping a lot in this aspect. Various forms of media (print and broadcast) are focusing on the body sizes and sexy outfits of the female athletes that it sometimes looks like the media are sexually exploiting the female athletes (Phillips, 1997). At first, the female athletes were so conscious about it, but when it appeared that they are becoming more famous because of the media, they started enjoying the limelight. Female athletes started having various offers of commercial endorsements for skimpy outfits, wines and other commercial products that often use their bodies and faces as a main attraction and not their sporting capabilities.

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Moreover, the scantily uniforms are often distracting the viewers and other sporting officials in a manner that it negatively affect the whole sporting activity (Phillips, 1997). The people may come watching the whole sports activity, but they may lost focus and watch the movements of the female athletes instead - the way their clothes fit their bodies, the way their legs are showing off every time they do some stunts, the way their bosoms and butts become prominent because of the tightly-fitted uniforms and many more. These are the "scenes" that others enjoy watching and not the whole activity itself.

Term Paper on Using Sex Appeal to Market Our Athletes a Case Analysis Into This Growing Issue Assignment

Because of this, it is strongly argued that women athletes are being highly "sexified" and trying to sell themselves to the public, essentially losing who they are and what their capabilities are. The uniforms that women athletes used to wear nowadays coupled with the commercialization of their physical attributes are the major reasons why women athletes are considered to be highly "sexified."

Counter Argument

The Counterclaims

Women uniforms are designed for comfort and convenience. They are asked to wear skimpy bikinis for swimming categories, short shorts for track and field or long jump and many other forms of uniforms that may look sexy yet suits very well for the sporting activities.

It should be noted that women's uniforms were not the skimpy or tight-fitting before. It just changed gradually from old-styled "knickers and long-sleeved blouses worn by early female athletes to the now colorful, individualistic styles worn by athletes such as Florence Griffith-Joyner" (http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/cgi-bin/iowa/issues/body/article.html?record=877,2005). Many are now questioning about the real purpose of wearing such tight or clad-fitted uniforms. However, the fact remains that these uniforms - however tight or clad-fitted they may look like - are designed and to suit their purpose, and that is to provide convenience and comfort while doing the stunts elated to the sporting events.

There are rules and guidelines to be followed when designing the uniform for a certain female athlete. The uniform will always be based on the "performance-related rationales" of the particular female athlete. There are different considerations when assessing the type of uniform fit for the female athlete. This may include:

The psychological benefit of the uniform such as "comfort, drag reduction, and performance enhancement" aspects.

It should be noted that the garment or the texture of the cloth plays a detrimental part in ensuring that the female athlete can perform well in her chosen sporting event. Tight-fitted uniforms have its own purpose and it has always been a decision of the female athlete to use such style of uniform because it gives them an edge over the competitors. Like for example in swimming, track and field events and even on gymnastics, the tight-fitted uniforms are really a plus factor. Others may opt to wear loose clothing for a different purpose, but if ensuring a winning piece at the end of every sporting performance, the tight-fitted uniforms are the better option.

Loose clothing may be worn to reduce restrictions and skin irritation whereas tighter clothing may be worn in sports where reduction in air or water resistance is important." (http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/cgi-bin/iowa/issues/body/article.html?record=877,2005)

Safety issues are also one of the considerations why today's female athlete's uniforms are designed that way.

It is a common notion that wearing garments that cover the most part of the body will protect the athletes from getting more bruises and abrasions in different sporting events. However, there are some female athletes who get more bruises and abrasions if the majority of their body parts are covered, specifically in doing some sporting stunts. Knee pads, elbow pads, helmet, ear plugs and others are enough to protect the "uncovered" body parts while the tight-fitted uniforms serve its purpose of protecting the most private body parts while ensuring that the female athletes can move and run around easily.

In a study conducted in a collegiate inter-basketball tournament, it was proven that shorts and tighter uniforms are better than any jeans or pants. This type of uniform is safer to use than any other type of garments.

A source: (Feather, et. al., 1996)

Being in uniform did improve their perception of their bodies and the need for being measured for their uniform was necessary. How the female athlete was perceived on the court correlated with how well their uniform fit which improved their performance." (Feather, et. al., 1996)

The third consideration will be for both the heavy and light female athletes who may found discomforts when wearing heavy uniforms that may of course hinder their performance.

In certain sporting activities like weight lifting, long jumping, and some water sports activities, wearing heavy and full-body clothes can surely affect the performance. It may hinder ease of jumping or add more weight to the supposedly light objects to carry.

Yes, others may view today's uniform requirement "exploitive when females are required to wear form-fitting uniforms when the same is not expected of male athletes in the same sport" but it is also good to note that "cultural differences related to the acceptability of exposing the body in public" is also considered. Other female athletes are not comfortable wearing sexy or tight looking uniforms but others do. Hence, it will always be the dependent on the preference of the team coach or of the female athlete herself to choose the kind of uniform she will be wearing.

It is important that uniform guidelines for the female athletes do not discriminate by gender, race, or other inappropriate distinction. In general, to the extent justifiable, uniform choices should give the athlete maximum flexibility in choosing a garment that makes her feel most comfortable and perform at the highest level." (http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/cgi-bin/iowa/issues/body/article.html?record=877,2005)

The aim of the female athletes is to play and play effectively. They are not concerned with what others are thinking or what others may feel towards the kind of garment they feel like wearing. Naturally, any female athlete would want to wear the type of uniform where she will be comfortable with. She will be wearing a uniform which she thinks will help her outperform the opponents in a very fair and clear manner. A female athlete will naturally choose to wear uniforms where she thinks she can be most effective with as an athlete, and not for anything else.

Rebuttal for the counterclaims

With the body-hugging uniforms that female athletes now wear, they have become the target of commercialization and sex exploitation. Female athletes wearing skimpy uniforms are used as product endorsers not because they are good in their respective sports but because of their physical attributes and that they look good in their uniforms.

With the new tend in female athletes' uniforms, other may feel discriminated thereby limiting the female groups from becoming an athlete or from joining a certain sporting events. They will think that sports will only for the females with gorgeous or voluptuous body. More so, some will fear being focused on by a camera because they will think that they will not look good in print and their forms of media. These cause discomfort and ill feeling among selected female athletes.

By requiring uniforms that expose the body, participation opportunities may be taken from those individuals who cannot wear such garments." (Feather, et. al., 1996)

It should be noted that sports is for everybody. The sports complex and other sporting venues are the place where the female athletes show their skills in their respective categories. It is the place where they interact with other athletes and with the crowd. It is the place where they are suppose to be shining as an athlete and not as a reflection of any body size nor… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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