For this diablog we read Textual Portrayals of Female Athletes, by Victoria Carty. The beginning of the reading talks a little of the history of sex, gender, and how they affected sports. Throughout the article Carty makes sure to differentiate between radical feminism and post-feminism, and how each sees the topics in the article. For instance, much discussion is around how each female athlete chooses to portray herself, and how they get portrayed in the media. The use of sex appeal is promoted by post-feminist who feel that taking control and using the sex appeal is empowering. They also view it in allowing or helping women see their bodies in a new way, as a source of pleasure and freedom. These views are contrasted by the radical feminists, who see sex appeal as too directly linked with male gaze and misogyny in how men see female athletes. If all men do is pay attention to how sexy the athlete is, it detracts from the athletic achievements she has made.
How the media portrays these athletes is another large concern in the reading, as the way in which the media portrays female athletes contributes to how we, as a society, view the athletes. When television, ads, radio, and other mediums focus on the sex appeal it paves the way for the rest of society to focus on only that portion as well, especially as the media controls much of how we can see the athletes, the mass adoption of one point of view by the media will stifle the ability of feminists of all kinds to get their viewpoints and ways of thinking across.
The impact of race on the way female athletes are discussed was a revelation, striking was the fact that in the top 10 reasons why The National Sports Review loved Anna Kournikova 9 had to do with sex appeal. This is very different from the Williams sisters, whose sex appeal is mentioned, but a much higher portion is dedicated to the athletic achievements, and are more likely to be described as aggressive and masculine.
Towards the end of the article Carty goes over the politicized feminist media imagery, bringing to us examples of where feminist ideals are given a viewing in the media. Important to note about these is that they are often done in a way as to minimize the chance of backlash by male viewers. Even when the media does give voice to feminist viewpoints, it does so in a way to minimize the male offense at women as being empowered.
Carty concludes with the idea that Title IX has increased participation by women in athletics, which has introduced a "new notion of femininity" while also giving the feminist cause a boost, though the different feminist views disagree on some of the methods that are being used to achieve this.
-Do you agree with the post-feminists or radical feminists on sexuality in athletics as being empowering or degrading, and why.
-The focus on athletic achievements of black female athletes over their sexuality is definitely there in contrast to white female athletes, but is it a problem.