Dressed for success … WHAT?!

Just a quickie reaction to a piece in tody’s Times. Really you need to read it to believe it so here’s a link.

Fran Halsall is a brilliant and talented swimmer and one of our hopes for the 2012 Olympics. here’s the list of her achievements so far quoted from the Times:

“She won four medals at the 2008 World Short Course Championships in Manchester, including bronze in the 4 x 100 metres freestyle and silver in the 100 metres freestyle. At the Olympics in Beijing, she swam a British record of 53.81sec that helped the British quartet to set a new national record of 3min 38.18sec in the 4 x 100 metres freestyle. She also won silver in the 100 metres freestyle at the 2009 World Championships in Rome in August.”

But guess what? This is only the second best thing about her – or the most interesting anyway – because first we have to listen to the ‘journalist’ drooling all over her and telling us how the first and most important thing about her is that she’s “beautiful”. And she’s dressed in “killer heels”. He’s practically having orgasms over her and he apologises to his ‘lovely’ girlfriend in the same over excited breath.

I don’t even know where to begin really. But clearly it’s her looks which have got her everywhere and indeed helped her get the coverage in the paper under the headline “Dressed for success”. Nothing to do with pure hard work and determination; grit and strength; dedication, blood, sweat and tears? NO. It’s the killer heels and the “blonde hair flowing about her shoulders like a river of gold”.

I feel sick. Sick that this kind of journalism is still ok. I’m too annoyed to go on but I encourage us all to complain and to comment on the piece. Please. Because god help any athlete who isn’t good looking enough to appeal to the men who write about them.



6 responses to “Dressed for success … WHAT?!

  1. Sorry, still gobsmacked… I thought this was the times, not the Sun…

  2. I take your point…. but in Matthew Syed’s defence he doesn’t say that being beautiful is most important, he says it is the first thing you notice. I think it is normal to notice how someone looks first of all, unless you meet them with your eyes closed. Syed then moves on swiftly to list her sporting achievements, and acually goes on to say the most important thing about her is her vibrant personality, intelligence and depth. Isn’t that a comprehensive, balanced and highly complimentary account of the girl and her achievements? I wonder if the writer had been female, would it have provoked such anger.

    Incidentally, the interview was conducted at a glamorous photoshoot. Presumably Fran Halsall was not forced to take part in this, but rather saw it as an opportunity for self-promotion. In fact, rather than being a victim of male orientated media, I’d argue that, by generating public interest, she is actually using it to the advantage of not only herself but her sport.

  3. The way I see it is that women are given little option but to get dressed up in order to get column inches. It’s the only way they can guarantee getting any exposure at all, so yes, they agree to do it. On the Times Sport website, the ONLY woman mentioned on the front page was Fran. And this under the heading Dressed for Success. If clothes and looks didn’t matter then why are there no other women at all anywhere to be found? And once again, when there is it’s all focused around looks, and hair colour and killer heels. It drives me mad. I wouldn’t mind if sportswomen got anywhere near the attention as sportsmen do. But they don’t.

  4. I agree, I just felt it was a bit harsh to crucify Syed (who is an excellent sports writer by the way) for what seemed, to me, to be quite a fair article.

    Why are there no other women on there? Well, that’s an entirely different debate, the crux of it being that the sports pages are full of male-dominated sports – football, rugby, cricket, golf, boxing, F1, etc. Until the women’s versions of these sports are held in as high regard as the mens, which will probably never happen, this will always be the case.

    In other sports women do get similar media attention to men. For example Rebecca Addlington is the biggest name in British swimming, and Paula Radcliffe is perhaps our most famous athlete. They have both done that without being made sex-objects. At least that shows that the opportunity is there.

  5. Guess what pink stinks, we’re human beings we objectify because our sole evolutionary role is to find the most attractive mate, the one with the most symetrical features, the clearest skin, the perfect waist to hip ratio… beauty will always captivate

  6. I don’t see men written about in most media with what you describe there being the “kick-off” criteria. Maybe that is the point. The playing field is far from level. Ultimately, this is a news item, not a singles night. Women and men are not judged by the same criteria in the public sphere and this is to the detriment of women who wish to have their career choices taken seriously. Why should my looks be of any importance in a news article (and this is a news article after all) if you’re supposed to be talking to me about my swimming?

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