By Laura Pappano
Of course being hot helps. Good-looking athletes get our attention, whether we’re talking Danica Patrick or Tom Brady. It doesn’t make them any better on the racetrack or the football field, but it does attract fans and sponsors.
I get that.
But there’s trouble when we consider the broader implications of who gets a hearing and some respect in our society – whether it’s on the field – or on a campaign trail or in a boardroom.
Do we need sex to sell women’s sports? Do women have to be attractive to be listened to? Unfortunately, women are forced to occupy a very narrow cultural space in our society (bitch, bunny, or mom?) that’s tightly tied to our bodies.
Michele Obama may be smart and accomplished, but we are most comfortable talking about her outfits and messages about organic gardening and family nutrition. That’s not as scary as hearing what she thinks.
Isn’t it obvious that we need to expand the depth and breadth of female public images? We need women pioneers (more females on Supreme Court, in Congress, in executive suites, on Little League teams, represented as artists in museums, as directors in Hollywood, etc…). In other words: Normalize female leadership so it’s not FIRST about how you look.
Artist Lillian Hsu has just launched an art action and held a mass event last weekend in which supporters placed 8.5 X 11 posters reading “Beautiful Just the Way You Are” in front of magazine covers featuring all-too-familiar representations of glam-only objectified female bodies. Her point: