Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fair Play: Sex, sports and statistics

DURING a meeting with fellow columnists, I learned an interesting tidbit. Majority of the stories that got the most hits in the website had something to do with sex.  And majority of the readers?  Married men.

In sports, sex--or rather, sexism--is a big thing, too.

I sometimes scoff at purists who love to take on bandwagon fans, especially the Azkals fans, whom they say are only following players because they're good looking.

Yeah, right.

And majority of Maria Sharapova's fans like her because she serves well.

Some even say that these "sports fans" can't tell an offside from a free kick and shouldn't be watching the games. They are a nuisance they say.

I say if we require that, then, perhaps the WTA should have special court-side seats for those who can hit a tennis ball and those who only want to ogle at players.

Back when I was still an AB Sociology major at the University of San Carlos, while at the same time, working as a sports correspondent, I once thought of doing a study on the dynamics of gender and power relations in sports.  I thought, then, that instead of lashing at organizers of beauty pageants, feminists groups should take a look at sports events.

You know what made me think of that?  Boxing.  That manly sport where women are reduced to objects.

It was a forgettable fight in a forgettable venue but what made it interesting was because of one round girl--women whose only role in boxing events is to be ogled at. I think she was still in her teens and her skimpy attire was so sheer that it left absolutely nothing to the imagination.

She got the loudest cheers, of course, louder even than those in the main event.

And, interestingly enough, the promoter of that fight would later land in the front pages for a sex-related offense with minors.

When I mentioned that incident to one veteran promoter who has been to boxing events  worldwide, he said, that was nothing.  He said he's been to events where round girls wear next to nothing and he had the photos to prove it.

I've always wondered why feminist groups have never gate-crashed a boxing event to protest this objectification of women.

And then there's beach volleyball.  The first time I learned the name of the world governing body for the sport was when they hit the news for setting a new rule--one that sets the minimum amount of skin a female player's bikini must cover. You got read right, the minimum amount.

When I read that news, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Do they have a guy who checks female player’s bikinis to make sure they meet the minimum exposure rule?”

That rule, made just before the Sydney Olympics, made me realize that gender roles in sports swing to the men’s side simply because men make the rules for an audience that is male-dominated.

And the media, too, play a role in this.  It’s still a male-dominated media and proof of that is the number of “eye-candy” sideline reporters in sports events.

Will that change soon?

I think the fact that majority of the stories that got the most number of hits in this website had something to do with sex shows it won’t.

Sex sells. 


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