OMG: Olympics Photos Focus On Women's Body Parts -- Not Their Athletic Skills
Posted by Katie Ostoich on August 5, 2012 at 11:03 AM
You girls know I am all about the Olympics. I freaking love them. And my favorite sport to watch is for sure Beach Volleyball. It’s a super hard sport and I think that the women who hit the sand are all around amazing. Not to mention seeing them in their bikinis makes me want to put back that bowl of ice cream I was thinking of eating. But it seems that some people are sick of seeing too much of their bikinis.
You see, Olympic photography can capture a gymnast mid-leap, a swimmer mid-stroke and a diver just before she plunges into the water. But when it comes to Women's Beach Volleyball, photographers seem to focus on certain parts of the players' bodies more than their serves.
When searching through photographs of the latest beach volleyball games, one comes across quite a lot of these:
Nate Jones pointed out the contrast between the way female beach volleyball players and most other athletes are snapped in a piece for Metro a few days ago. He also took it upon himself to crop photos of male basketball players, swimmers, divers and gymnasts to see what it would look like if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball. (See the full post here.) The result? Lots of closeups of men's crotches. Thanks, I guess?
The double standard doesn't mean sports photographers aren't also taking pictures that show off beach volleyball players' awesomeness, because they are…
…But it also doesn't mean that other Olympians aren't being gratuitously ogled (because they are). However, as journalist Doug Barry pointed out, most other athletes don't get such "lecherous" treatment from the camera:
“For all the objectification of Ryan Lochte that's gone on recently, all pictures of him include, you know, his face rather than his junk. Ditto for similarly scantily-garbed male Olympians. Female beach volleyball players, however, are some of the only Olympic athletes in the Getty Images Olympics archives whose bottom-halves take up entire frames.”
This year marks the first Olympic games where female beach volleyball teams were not required to wear bikinis, and it's true that Team USA and many others still chose to rock them. But does that choice make this photo a fair news photo (below) of an elite athlete?
Our verdict: OMG. No, I don’t think that’s very fair. Yes, sex sells. Would Ryan Lochte be as popular if he wasn’t just so freaking cute? I completely agree with Nate Jones that there is a distinct difference in how these women are being portrayed. I mean, male swimmers wear Speedos, yet none of their Getty photos focus exclusively on their bottom halves. And how strange is it that they are labeled as "unidentified" volleyball players...not showing their faces and not naming their names is clearly objectification in my mind.
What do you think? Should male athletes be photographed the same way in retaliation? Share in the comments!