During the last summer Olympics I did a post wondering why women's beach volleyball (and to a lesser extent, the shirtless men's version of the same) had to be played half-naked.
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To say that the photojournalism of this sport focuses excessively on tits and ass would be an understatement.
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The number of women's beach VB photos in which the athlete's head is omitted borders on comical. So this blogger took the concept beyond the beach and asked, what if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball? The results are predictably amusing.
I for one could do with more James Harden and Kevin Durant ass shots.
31 thoughts on “NPF: T & A”
As far as I can tell it's player's choice, since not all teams elect to go with bikini bottoms and a sports bra uniform. Some do long sleeves and long leggings and play just fine.
I read somewhere that the bikini bottoms were actually required by the rules.
Second bullet point and fifth Photo: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/07/31/4141468/some-olympic-accessories-step.html
Another random article anonymously quotes players:
"The two-piece swimsuit is the standard attire in the sport — players say more material means more chafing from sand underneath"
Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Beach volleyball is a less fun sport to watch than others, because I don't enjoy watching the players pull their bikini bottoms out of their asses after every play. It just looks awkward and uncomfortable. With all the high tech uniforms out there, couldn't they come up with something better (and sand-free)?
I continue to wonder why beach volleyball is an Olympic sport at all.
Dick Nixon says:
Why be a killjoy to those of us who admire the (ahem) finer points of the game?
I feel the same way about the men's diving. At the risk of sounding like a Victorian aunt, it makes me feel like a borderline pervert being privy to that much underwater 'adjusting'.
We're wired for sex. To deny that or decry that is to wade into the waves brandishing your sword.
J. Dryden says:
Goddammit, Ed, you just had to make it weird, didn't you?
Now I gotta be all self-conscious and shit when I'm watching.
Seriously… why not play in a gym?
Oh, right – T&A.
C'mon, this is just distraction from the REAL issue: hermaphroditic Olympians competing as women.
Hazy Davy says:
1) Casts sidelong glare at mothra. Challenges mothra to anything he thinks is a legitimate sport, individually or with partners of our choosing. […and if you choose doubles volleyball, after you lose to my 5'2" wife and me, I will laugh heartily…]
2) Given the impact that technology enables some countries to more effectively compete (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-speedo-created-swimsuit ), I propose a return to the Greek standards of nudity in the Olympics.
[They don't go far enough? I SAY THEY HAVEN'T GONE FAR ENOUGH!.]
2a) I can imagine that some events are going to suddenly get a lot more viewers.
2b) Male swimmers are suddenly going to have medical "need" for keel-removal surgeries. "Now, it's the team of castrata vs. GI Joe"
2b') Seriously, drag is such an issue that swimmers wear two caps, one to reduce the drag from their *goggle straps* . But Mark Spitz won golds in a speedo, with a big ol' mustache.
3) I'd go shirtless, in the hopes of nauseating opponents when I jump for the block, with my ponderous gut rippling …
4) I don't think the men's olympic vball goes shirtless. I, too, have heard the sand argument. But that's bogus.
4a) I've played a bit of beach volleyball, in my time. And I've worn a shirt.
4b) If the boys aren't getting sand in places, the girls could wear the same uniforms as the men, logically.
4c) Presumably, this helps their endorsement chances. So, it is player-choice. Or sponsor-choice, more accurately.
I can't get on board with this, I watch just for those shots.
Just a regular pig, who loves the female form.
I was just facebooking about this the other day. I don't care that they do it. I just think they should be honest that it has not athletic purpose whatsoever. I also think that if they're gonna mix porn with sports, it should be called sporn.
Exactly. It's not that the women who play beach volleyball aren't sportswomen, it's that its purpose isn't sport. That much was made crystal clear to any doubters by the lengthy presser that focused entirely on whether the temperature in London was going to deny the viewing public their divinely appointed right to gawp at female flesh.
Beach volleyball is much like the hands and knees shots that Maxim et al persuade sportswomen into. They're not there because they can run fast, or jump high, or have a great uneven bars routine; they're there because of how they fill out underwear / an abbreviated lycra PE kit.
Tim H. says:
The young people do look wonderful, but at my age, the testosterone poisoning has backed off some, and I don't enjoy feeling manipulated, "Hey guys, turn off your higher mental functions and look at this ass!". And hopefully leave them off so the commercial break can really soak in. It would still be sport in mechanic's coveralls, which are too loose to trap sand, with plenty of room for their master's, oops, national logos, sponsors, etc. and best of all, no more "crack creep".
You guys are kind of missing the point — the photos are treating the volleyball players as body parts, not people. It's a dehumanizing technique used to objectify women — just show an ass, a crotch, or the boobs but never a face. The uniform is irrelevant. It wouldn't matter if the women played naked if the entire person was shown instead of just reducing her down to her ass or her tits.
I think it's both/and, with the discussion on what women should wear while participating in competitive sport being a preoccupation of those from governing bodies to journalists. To wit, the flummoxes over whether women should have to box at London 2012 in skirts lest their femininity be undermined; Sepp Blatter suggesting that if female soccer players wore shorter shorts then women's soccer might be more attractive in countries where the men's sport has a lock on public affections; and the pressure on tennis players to wear those little flippy dresses, instead of the obviously more practical shorts.
c u n d gulag says:
If the Summer Olympics were held in, say, Saudi Arabia, who will still watch women's beach volleyball if they have to play in burqa's?
No one – except friends and relatives of the competitors.
There, I think, is your answer as to why they wear 2-piece swim suits:
And, speaking as a( still horny) middle-aged male who's been fighting for women's rights for decades, butl backslides once in awhile into adolescence – like now – when I die, I hope I come back as a grain of sand on a women's beach volleyball court.
Ok, now that I've had my disgusting sexist pig moment – back to…
Oh look – women's gymanstics!!!
c u n d gulag says:
Btw – there should have been quotation marks around the word "women's", since most of the competitor's are teenager's – and fairly young ones at that.
When I moved to the Bay Area, I saw hard core beach volleyballers for the first time at Santa Cruz. The women all wore minimal Speedos (as did many of the men) and it made perfect sense.
The high sand part of the beach is HOT. Too hot to want to wear more than the minimum. And it's true that diving into sand and popping up out of it every couple of minutes is a much bigger PITA when you get tangled up in loose clothes that need to be rearranged.
Not mention constantly shaking sand out of the excess fabric. It's a lot more gritty on the kitty, and it's far from "good clean dirt." Even raked sand includes a high percentage of cigarette ashes, bird shit, spilled beer, and bugs both living and dead. Spanky pants are a must.
So while the Olympic photography is pure pig, please don't think those ballers weep softly into their pillows and wish they were allowed to cover their filthy bodies as modest sporting gentlewomen ought. The gear is standard and useful. It's the audience that's the problem.
I'm with Tim. It's the same reason I hate MTV videos. They're not done with any elegance or finesse, and simply trying to push the boundary until we have porn at prime time.
But it's not new. I once watched old news footage of a figure skater being interviewed after the event was introduced. Questions were literally, "So you go out on the ice in this tiny outfit?" "Doesn't it get cold out there on the ice?" The athlete being interviewed chalked it all up to that being "the times". 50yrs on, good to see things haven't changed.
People I know had a bit of an inside look during the Sydney Game. There's a strong opinion that as long as Samaranch and ppl that he worked with pull the strings at the IOC, expect body painting instead of spandex.
One thing I never got was women went from wearing running shorts to spankies. Swimming and diving make sense to wear speedos because of the nature of water. In context they're both appropriate and modest. Men will find a way to perv on anyone. Whether a girl in a bikini or her wrists and ankles in a burkha. Though it's up to men to live to a higher standard.
@CU: Good to see there's still some life in the ol' hound ;)
The point here isn't whether you may or may not enjoy the female form. The point isn't even the kinds of uniforms that players wear. The point is how sexy women are customarily depicted in our society (depersonalized and faceless, reduced to mere tits and ass) versus how sexy men are typically depicted (with their faces visible). When a woman is depicted in skimpy attire but with her face either cropped out or obscured, such an image caters to a certain brand of "admirers" who like to "admire the female form" without a pesky reminder that this form belongs to an actual human being with a face and a name. It also tells both men and women that women's bodies are divorced from their identities as people. And that's disturbing indeed — although it really comes into focus when you portray male athletes the same way.
Halloween Jack says:
ladiesbane and Amused: right on. The rest of you: You don't get enough of this sort of thing from, you know, the rest of the Internet?
Maybe it's just me, but tits and ass minus the face are just not that appealing.
Hazy Davy says:
HJ – well, my 9 y.o. son and I can enjoy the volleyball, together.
I actually like watching beach volleyball regardless of what they women are wearing, or if it's mens. It's a pretty simple game, but it makes it fun to watch and see all the levels that go on. Bluffing spikes for a touch pass, bluffing your defense, and the hand signals that the teammates give each other.
With that said, in addition to enjoying the game itself I do loooove watching the ladies. I admittedly now have a small crush on the Czech team, specifically Kolocova, and find nothing wrong with this, or the sport.
To say that the way these athletes are being photographed is objectifying and dehumanizing is a valid point and one I agree with. To say that they should put more clothes on is kind of priggish.
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