« profile & posts archive

This author has written 619 posts for Larvatus Prodeo.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

221 responses to “Here – have at least one image of female Olympians that isn't focussed on T&A”

  1. FDB

    I agree.

    What do we want?
    More taught, toned men in skimpy outfits!

  2. tigtog

    More taught, toned men in skimpy outfits!

    I may regret asking this, but taught to do what exactly?

  3. FDB

    They’re your objects tigtog, to do with as you please. Diving and munching, one would presume.

  4. Robert Merkel

    Um, tigtog, with respect to men’s sprinters costumes, while they don’t reveal midriff they’re pretty, um, “figure-hugging”. Anybody remember Matt Shirvington?

  5. Robert Merkel

    OTOH, the swimming commentary has often seemed rather patronizing towards the female swimmers. Duncan Armstrong, I’m referring to you…

  6. charles

    It’s entertainment, the sport I’m interested in has the women and men equally covered ( swimming). Horse riding, covered. Your problem is your watching too much beach volley ball.

  7. tigtog

    Believe me, I’m not.

  8. Fine

    Yep, as Helen has pointed out riders wear exactly the same clothes in the equestrian events, as do their horses regardless of gender.

    And as Robert Merkel has pointed out the male sprinters outfits are also completely different than in the ’80s. I do remember the fuss about Matt Shirvington.

  9. dj

    The football players seem to wear the same uniforms, so much so that some of the women’s teams often appear to be wearing oversized uniforms.

    Beach volleyball certainly stands out for the ridiculous disparity between the uniforms of the two sexes, which is far greater than the difference in indoor volleyball.

  10. tigtog

    At least the male sprinters don’t have to use BodyGlide to combat thigh-chafe.

    Look at the women’s tan-lines on their legs – they don’t train in those underwear-type bottoms. They train in shorts that protect them from chafing.

  11. tigtog

    The football players seem to wear the same uniforms, so much so that some of the women’s teams often appear to be wearing oversized uniforms.

    Doesn’t it give you pause that your reaction to women wearing uniforms with the exact same looseness as men’s is that they appear “oversized”?

  12. Gummo Trotsky

    Team sabre? I’ve never heard of that event before.

    Do they all fight simultaneously, the way they do in swashbuckler films? That would be something to see.

  13. dj

    Doesn’t it give you pause that your reaction to my comment that I mean that some of the Women’s teams seem to be wearing the Men’s uniforms?

  14. FDB

    I believe DJ’s implication was that they might be wearing the very same uniforms.

    I don’t agree, but there you go.

    I watched some womens’ soccer the other night and didn’t realise for a while (until there was a close up). So they at least appear to be doing it well. Great game too – Norway were resting a few stars, sure, but Japan got some cracking goals.

  15. dj

    Yes FDB.

    The uniforms may be a smaller size but the same cut as the male ones which could explain why they appeared looser than the male ones on some of the smaller female players. A few players just stood out as looking like some of us did when we were kids playing in uniforms that fit the big kids but looked like tents on us smaller lads. While I would prefer to play in a relatively loose uniform, playing in one that is too big can be distracting and detrimental to your range of motion.

  16. Robert Merkel

    BTW, I agree that there’s no reason for female athletes to be running in pseudo-bikinis other than sexist TV executives. They could wear something similar to the men’s sprinters.

  17. boynton

    Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor talked about their dislike of the Opals Bodysuit on Channel 7′s Yum Cha, which is online (ep. 1, about 51 minutes in.)
    It makes them self-conscious about watching replays.
    LJ: I mean they may as well just paint them on, really

  18. dj

    It’s interesting to note that the WNBL teams have moved away from bodysuits.

  19. tigtog

    Exactly, Boynton. Lauredhel had a side-by-side for that as well:

  20. Tony Healy

    I thought it was pretty well known that Beach Volleyball was nothing but tits and bums. Providing a mens competition is just part of the pretence it’s a serious sport. The criticism here really goes to the tossers who run the Olympics these days, and allowed such a blatantly commercial operation into the Olympics.

    Costume disparities in the other sports are legitimate, I think. In the case of running, the best clothing in the 80s had been developed for males, and women simply used that without adapting it. As women have become more confident, they’ve switched to figure hugging clothing that gives them more freedom of movement. Males don’t have the same options due to their anatomical complications.

    Women runners do actually train in skimpy figure hugging clothes when it’s appropriate, such as on the track. But they don’t wear those clothes all day, so their tan lines reflect fuller shorts and other clothing.

    Also longer shorts don’t prevent chafing for elite athletes; they cause it. The shorts now being worn by women runners are actually the most appropriate for them. The fact that it’s skimpy reflects womens’ confidence rather than some sort of deference to cheap thrills for blokes.

  21. Darryl Rosin

    “Do they all fight simultaneously, the way they do in swashbuckler films? That would be something to see.”

    That’s almost exactly the same image I had last year when someone told me the Davis cup is a team competition.

  22. tigtog

    As women have become more confident, they’ve switched to figure hugging clothing that gives them more freedom of movement. Males don’t have the same options due to their anatomical complications.

    Men have anatomical complications that prevent them from baring their torsos? Funny, I would have though that would be more of a problem for women.

    Also longer shorts don’t prevent chafing for elite athletes; they cause it.

    So all those professional football players wearing longer bike-shorts under their uniform shorts are lying about it preventing chafe?

    The male track athletes are deliberately inducing chafe?

    Pull the other one Tony Healy.

  23. fuckpoliteness

    Why are there skirts in Hockey, what *possible* advantage can that give women? If it’s such an advantage, let’s slap em on the menfolk. What about the basketball outfits discussed, where clearly at least two women aren’t feeling more *confident* by way of wearing skimpier outfits. And again, the uniform requirements are just that, requirements, not women deciding of their own volition.

    And *dude* do I even need to tell you how offensive your comments on beach volleyball would be to any person who’s trained their life away to be able to play like that?

  24. dj

    Yeah, I have to wear bike shorts underneath short shorts to stop chafing. I used to hate the short shorts that we had to wear for Touch or athletics/running shorts. I don’t have the same problem with longer shorts.

  25. Nabakov

    An obvious solution. Return to the spirt of the original Olympics and have everyone compete in the nude. Hell, even the horses.

    Well except perhaps for the Bulgarian weightlighters. There are some things humanity was never meant to see.

  26. Spiros

    They should all compete naked. If it was good enough for the ancient Greeks, it’s good enough now.

  27. Possum Comitatus

    Make that anyone who has ever played it competitively fuckpoliteness.

    It’s volleyball, played by 2 people on a court that usually has 6 people covering the area, in the sun, with wind, in sand, with tighter restrictions on setting and a ball that is harder to control because of it’s weight and material specs.

    Anyone that reckons BV is a “pretence” of a sport has obviously never tried to play it.

    Mens beach volleyball was in operation for years before the womens version became professionalised. It never started out as a T&A marketing regime.

    And despite a large element of that marketing strategy happening in both mens and womens BV today – it’s a bit of an exaggeration to suggest it drives the sport. In some competitions around the place where there are zero dress restrictions, you still see an awful lot of bikinis in action, voluntarily – and if not, short boardshorts and kini tops make up the rest.

    Except the blokes – who often don’t wear any top at all – but no budgie smugglers, for which we can probably all be thankful.

  28. adrian

    Roy and HG have been calling for a NUUUDE!!! olympics for years.

    Speaking of Roy and HG, what’s with that Yum Cha crap? The Dream turns into a nightmare.

  29. Tony Healy

    Regarding anatomical complications, I was referring to shorts and running. Women wear skimpier shorts because they can.

    Regarding exposed torsos, you certainly do have a point. I think in that one, though, it’s the men who are suffering under silly gender stereotypes. Womens’ clothing is much more appropriate for endurance events, because the bare torso dissipates heat better. In casual running, many males dispense with tops in warm weather for this reason.

    Regarding longer shorts causing chafing, I should have been more precise. I was referring to elite runners. Your photo was of runners, and I used to do distance events. I know, dj, that many people wear bike shorts underneath running shorts, but those people are not elite athletes competing in running events.

    Also, just doing a sensibility check on this, tigtog, most elite women runners do wear skimpy shorts. Surely you’re not suggesting they’re all brainwashed or something?

  30. Tony Healy

    Beach Volleyball players are not in the same league as elite marathoners, swimmers and cyclists, so stop pretending otherwise. Wnkrs.

    [personal abuse disemvoweled, and I'm pleased to inform you that this application to be placed in permanent moderation has been accepted ~ moderator]

  31. Laura

    The Olympics is for the benefit of Channel 7, so it’s really no surprise that the coverage is constructed about as intelligently as your average episode of Today Tonight.

  32. Possum Comitatus

    They’re certainly not in the same league as elite marathoners, swimmers and cyclists when it comes to running a marathon, swimming and cycling. I never realised it was a dick swinging contest of my sport is bigger than yours. No wonder the men don’t wear budgie smugglers with all this sporting viagra floating around.

    So saying, I played against an Australian cyclist about ten years ago in a beach comp where he filled in for a bit of fun. He was rooted after 10 minutes – like most sports, the movement involved is pretty unique to that sport.

  33. tigtog

    Also, just doing a sensibility check on this, tigtog, most elite women runners do wear skimpy shorts. Surely you’re not suggesting they’re all brainwashed or something?

    I’m suggesting that if they refuse to wear the regulation uniforms they get dropped from the squad.

  34. FDB

    Okay, seeing as we’ve moved into highly productive Superman vs Godzilla territory, here’s my 2c on pointless sport:

    Making It Hard For Yourself For No Good Reason: The Walking And Swimming Story.

    Who cares how fast someone walks? Walking is what you do when you don’t want to go fast.

    Likewise, who cares how fast someone does a stroke other than the one they do fastest?

    There are probably others.

  35. tigtog

    Also this:

    Womens’ clothing is much more appropriate for endurance events, because the bare torso dissipates heat better.

    As a physiotherapist, I’m well aware that wearing a modern sports material that wicks the sweat away from the skin is actually far more effective at dissipating heat than sweat remaining on bare skin. It might well go against the factoids accepted by the running fraternity who aren’t actually sports scientists, but it is a demonstrated physiological fact.

  36. Possum Comitatus

    Tigtog – those modern materials are pretty profound in what they can do. I still hack about on a beach court weekly, but at night and not on a beach. In summer there is often zero wind and often high humidity and the heat literally kills you – well, it used to until I started wearing a long sleeve shirt made up of that weird textured stuff, recommended by a physio actually.

    Now if only they could design one that doesn’t stink after about 10 minutes of use, the world will truly be a better place. At least for those within 50 feet of anyone wearing them.

  37. Kim

    I guess it’s just pure coincidence that the most “scientific” uniforms for women are also completely in line with the sexay?

    None so blind as those who see what they want to see?

  38. Possum Comitatus

    I wonder Kim if the “scientific” uniforms – like the bodysuits for the basketball players as a random example – just happen to be “sexy” on the ladies but would make the blokes look a little too effeminate for prime time TV and associated marketing?

  39. Kim

    Got it in one, I suspect, Poss!

    Basically, we could say perceptions of gender is an intervening variable here. ;)

  40. FDB

    Possum – what is it with those materials?

    My indoor soccer shirt smells fucking frightful, and has since maybe the second game I played in it. The fabric must abosorb stench and really store it up – completely immune to washing. I take it off and my body itself smells of naught but fresh, manly sweat.

    Reminds me of this superb disco picture-shirt I found in Don Bosco op shop. Looks fantastic i an ugly gaudy sort of way, but it’s unwearably tainted with horrid man-stink. And it’s someone else’s.

  41. Francis Xavier Holden

    I have only watched road racing bikes, boxing and shooting. No women boxing but in the bike racing you actually cannot tell from just looking if it is men, women or martians competing.

  42. Possum Comitatus

    Kim – you’re such a cynic!

    As if some burly US basketball player, flexing biceps and generally showing off his alpha male prowess couldn’t be dressed in the equivalent of a leotard when he looks down the camera and implores middle aged men everywhere to buy a Hummer.

    Advertising gold I tell you! :mrgreen:

    FDB, never buy a white one! That shit stains like the Cat in the Hats bathtub ring. You’d swear human sweat was made out of old motor oil.

    And that’s honestly the first time I’ve ever seen the words “superb” and “disco picture shirt” said in the same sentence.

  43. Kim

    That is a tad disturbing!

  44. Kim

    What I want to know is – do they use semi-colons in any reporting of the manly sports?

  45. dj

    Do the male Gladiators wear leotards? If they do, perhaps one of the unspoken selection criteria was whether they were the total…package.

  46. Liam, Having Lost That Lovin' Feeling

    Except the blokes [playing beach volleyball] – who often don’t wear any top at all – but no budgie smugglers, for which we can probably all be thankful.

    Possum, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post this. Thank you.

  47. Liam, Too Close For URLs, Switching To Text

    Bah!

  48. Liam, Too Close For URLs, Switching To Text

  49. FDB

    Liam, mate. You’re talking in circles. ;)

  50. Liam, Diving, Inverted, and Communicating

    FDB, I’ve tried putting up the real link but my further comments are going down. Splash two.

  51. Kim

    You’re spaminator baiting, Liam!

  52. Liam, Requesting Permission For A Flyby

    Sorry Kim. Looks like my ego is writing comments WordPress can’t cash.

  53. Tony Healy

    Women runners wear skimpy shorts everywhere, not just at the Olympics. This suggests they prefer it. It also straining credulity to suggest the Australian Olympic Committee would try to force female competitors to wear clothing they did not approve of.

    As a physiotherapist, I’m well aware that wearing a modern sports material that wicks the sweat away from the skin is actually far more effective at dissipating heat than sweat remaining on bare skin. It might well go against the factoids accepted by the running fraternity who aren’t actually sports scientists, but it is a demonstrated physiological fact.

    So why do elite women runners prefer bear midriffs? And why do their sports scientist advisors approve it?

  54. FDB

    If it’s links to sports montages with homoerotic overtones you’re after, try this:

    At about 43 seconds begins a whole new world of WTF.

  55. Liam, Breath Taken Away

    Wow. Talk about more bounce to the ounce, Ice(cream)man.

  56. FDB

    I got the film out for a perfectly innocent weekend of zombie and teen martial arts movies. After this scene appeared, we had to rename our beach shack the House of Holiday Hernias.

  57. Liam, Flying A Cargo Plane Full Of Rubber Dogshit Out Of Hong Kong

    Oh, and in respect of the earlier discussion over lycra bike shorts, here is a data point on inappropriate sporting gear.

  58. Sean

    Tigtog, you said:

    “So all those professional football players wearing longer bike-shorts under their uniform shorts are lying about it preventing chafe?”

    No. The point is that it’s the uniform shorts that cause the chafing, not your own skin. Your options are to go nude as God and Nabokov intended, or slip the bike shorts underneath. Or, if you are fortunate enough not to have dangly bits down there, wear shorts that finish where leg meets pelvis.

    Which sport did you play, BTW?

  59. Laura

    I can really see footballers (in this post Warwick Capper world) wearing skintight shorty short shorts and crop tops that display their abs.

    Ah Olympics. They should all have to do it in Mormon underwear, and instead of nation against nation, teams formed alphabetically by surname.

    Admit it, you want olympics where the A-team march out first into the stadium.

  60. Mindy

    Obviously I’m going to have to give my skin a damn good talking to, it’s always managed to chafe by itself without the help of fabric.

  61. FDB

    Skin chafes skin.

    A thin layer of anything but frickin sandpaper will reduce it.

  62. tigtog

    TH at #53, I’ve already asked and answered the question about the athletes alleged preferences for the skimpier gear – let’s actually see what would happen if the olympic/national/regional clubs didn’t mandate only skimpy uniforms, and see how many of them would prefer to cover up a bit more then. (edited to add: and the reason that they are required to do it by these bodies is all to do with sponsorship money that depends on TV ratings, and TV executives have decided that men won’t watch women’s sports in general unless they can see T&A)

    Sean at #58, as said by FDB at #61, skin chafes skin. People with very large thighs, whether through muscle or fat, know this intimately. Physiotherapists see a lot of it, and recommend people to wear bike shorts because of it.

  63. FDB

    “Sean at #58, as said by FDB, skin chafes skin. People with very large thighs, whether through muscle or fat, know this intimately. Physiotherapists see a lot of it, and recommend people to wear bike shorts because of it.”

    You don’t even need large thighs if you’re say, out for a full day of cricket when it’s hot and humid. Skin that’s wet for a long time does it really well, as even my reasonably svelte frame can attest.

    That Sean can question this, while simultaneously questioning others’ credentials to comment, suggests he hasn’t played much sport himself. And is what’s more a boor.

  64. Tony Healy

    Tigtog, you actually haven’t answered my points at all. Elite women runners wear skimpy shorts everywhere, not just at the Olympics.

    To those discussing chafing, chafing between thighs tends not to be a problem for elite runners, because of the way the musculature of their legs is developed. For those people, when they’re wearing fly-away shorts, the danger comes when sweat makes the leg material heavy. That can cause chafing. There’s a big difference between the experience of casual and elite runners.

  65. Mervyn Langford

    I think we should go back to the original intention of the Olympics and have all athletes take part naked. That should eliminate any untoward implications as to who gets to wear what.
    I don’t know what we do about how women athletes proving that they were in fact female. Until 1968, I understand, this required women athletes walking past (?male?) doctors naked.
    Perhaps the blokes could parade past women medicos.
    Ought to boost the number of people choosing medicine as a career option.
    Just a thought.

  66. fuckpoliteness

    Tny Hly yr cmmts wr rly offnsv -g m srry y gt dsmvld thr wth yr rsrtng t vlgr nm cllng – frm fckpltnss

  67. fuckpoliteness

    “Elite women runners wear skimpy shorts everywhere”
    Everywhere you say? Jeez, that’s gotta be tough to pull off at a funeral

  68. tigtog

    Tigtog, you actually haven’t answered my points at all. Elite women runners wear skimpy shorts everywhere, not just at the Olympics.

    Actually I did answer that at #62, when I noted that the requirement comes from all team levels – olympic/national/regional and increasingly from local/school events as well.

    This issue is also covered in the post itself, where the linked post on the Senate Committee report from 2006 covered how many young women are not continuing to participate in sports when they have the talent to try out at an elite level because of the uniforms that they are mandated to wear, and even veteran athletes in local clubs are dropping out because they feel that they don’t have the bodies to carry the mandated skimpy uniforms off.

    It’s not a choice if it’s the only way that you’re allowed to be part of the team.

  69. fuckpoliteness
  70. fuckpoliteness

    Answer my points tigtog…ANSWER EM…

    Cheer up Tony, at least she didn’t answer your points by calling you a wnkr. That would be out of line.

  71. tigtog

    To those discussing chafing, chafing between thighs tends not to be a problem for elite runners, because of the way the musculature of their legs is developed.

    Maybe for the lanky marathoner/endurance runner, but not so much the case at all for the bulkier sprinter/hurdler power-runner types. Can you tell just from looking at that picture, for instance, which events those women run in? 3 out of 4 of them look like they’d definitely have thigh friction happening to me.

  72. dj

    I am directly aware of women choosing not to nominate for a state level sport team because of these uniform issues or feeling very uncomfortable wearing the uniform they were required to wear. Again, there was no overwhelming imperative for the uniform design to be so different to the male one, illustrated perfectly by the fact that some of the best female teams in the sport wear uniforms that are looser than the one piece bodysuits that predominated for several years.

  73. tigtog

    Yes, FP – the full body suit as worn by Freeman is the only other option for female track athletes, and some runners just full out hate the full body suits. Freeman wore it because her body fat was exceptionally low – remember how much she shivered on a warm night at Sydney 2000 when she got drenched lighting the Olympic torch?

  74. fuckpoliteness

    Just being facetious in response to claims that elite female athletes wear skimpy shorts everywhere. Plenty o pics online though of marathon runners wearing short but floppy shorts (I know, I know, they may not be ‘elite’ enough) and Marion Jones (and presumably many others but now I need to stop being a pain in the bum and start doing some study, plus I don’t know any runners names beyond Freeman and Jones, so I’m out but it still wasn’t a bad innings for fun making) running a big proper elite looking race in longer shorts…

    http://www.needtoknowsports.com/files/images/marion-jones-second-place-loser.jpg

  75. dj

    Indeed, it could be argued that the bikini style shorts are less effective than longer tights for athletes in the sprints and other explosive movement athletics events, as they give less support to the major muscle groups.

  76. tigtog

    I don’t know what we do about how women athletes proving that they were in fact female

    That’s now done with a combination of hormone and chromosome tests, which has led to a few heartbreaking discoveries for some athletes who developed in the womb as female and grew up as women due to Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), but who nonetheless have XY chromosomes. However, they no longer require every woman to undertake the tests, only those about whom some doubts have been expressed.

    Genetic testing has also caused problems for a few athletes who are genetic chimerae i.e. conceived with a sibling embryo, but the second embryo was absorbed into their own developing embryo, so that their tissues are a mosaic from two sets of chromosomes. One woman track athlete lost her medals when she was discovered to be a genetic chimera.

    Of course, these sorts of chromosomal abnormalities where a woman’s hormonal makeup and musculature still develop as fully female have not been categorically shown to give them any definite advantage, which is very different from the case of XY individuals who developed as men and then have had their sex identity surgically changed.

  77. skepticlawyer

    I think there are a couple of things going on here, and it might be worth keeping them separate.

    The first issue is what athletes are wearing. In the absence of evidence, we’re all speculating about the amount of choice athletes have with respect to their clothing. Suffice to say, if athletes are choosing to wear skin-tight/skimpy/what have you clothing themselves, then decrying their choice is all kinds of unreasonable. Matt Shirvington (mentioned above) wore this outfit continuously while he was competing, despite the fact that it looked like he had a bag of kittens down there. Do a google image search and you’ll see him featured in some, ahem, interesting places.

    I’ve read conflicting stories about the beach volleyballers – some saying they have to wear f-a, some saying they have a choice but prefer ‘less is best’, and some pointing out that male competitors are shirtless as a general rule, and only at the Olympics do they have to ‘cover up’. It would be interesting to get to the bottom of it.

    Next up – and probably of more legitimate concern – is the media reporting of the Olympics, and its relentless focus on appearance (including the deliberate lopping off of a female athlete’s head and legs in a photograph reproduced over at the Hoydens’ place). Athletes and their choices aside, this suggests that lots of media people don’t care very much that a given athlete may actually have an individual identity. It may also mean that the image was cropped in order to make it easier to flow ads around it. Media bodies are corporations like any other, and newspapers in particular exist as a vehicle for the display of advertisements.

  78. Laura

    tigtog @ 76, that’s really fascinating stuff, where can I read a bit more about it?

  79. tigtog

    Laura, the description of the testing procedures in this article are good, and there’s some knowledgeable people talking about AIS especially in the comments.

    The wikipedia article on chimeras is reasonable, although I think its claim that there are only about 40 verified cases in humans is well out of date.

  80. patrickg

    I know it’s off topic, but – Damn FDB, that video clip is a least twelve different kinds of awesome, and I’m lathering up in all of em!

    Good work, sir, I salute you, and name you “Manimal”.

  81. Kim

    I blame Liam for the off topicness. As always! ;)

  82. Fine

    The skimpiest outfit so far has been the male divers. I’ve never seen speedos so small and so tight.

  83. Tony Stark of Stark Industries

    All of the athletes, male and female, should compete encased entirely in metal: cap-a-pie, as my lord Hamlet would say.

    Happy now?

  84. The Feral Abacus

    Tony Stark of Stark Industries, was this what you had in mind?

  85. Dr S

    Due to a nipper with gastro I have ended up watching a few thousand percent more Olympics than I would have preferred. The two forms of image channel Seven keep using that reinforce the point of this post are firstly the slow motion beach volleyball serve (viewed from below, of course) and secondly the montages of the female swimmers. Thirty seconds of Ms Rice from all angles as if this were “America’s Next Top Model”.

    Oh, and if anyone plays Bruce saying “..face of an angel but heart of a lion!” again I shall send a rude letter. Not to mention the fact that any female athlete is a girl while any male athlete warrants the adult form.

    Fine – just, for a second, imagine if those guys hit the water at 50km/h in LOOSE speedos.

  86. fuckpoliteness

    The feminists: look, we all know it’s a gendered world, but for real, this coverage of the Olympics, and all the focus on tits and arse in pictures, montages etc is driving me nuts – these women are ATHLETES. Hence, here see some pics of kick arse women you DON’T get to see often since they aint in itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. Because female athletes – all of them – are awesomeness!

    The men: Oh YEAH??? Well, I’ll have you know it’s SCIENCE, and we all know that science and the way we think of it is INDISPUTABLE FACT, not tarnished by the ways we think or our prejudice. Furthermore, you just want us to be gay and not like female bodies! That’s right, you want women covered in big floppy uniforms that they’ll trip and hurt themselves in all because you have a problem with female bodies.

    The feminists: No. Please learn to read and furthermore to read words written by a female that may unsettle you without the immediate impulse to piss all over them by a/ calling names, b/ snide comments such as “what sport did YOU play, c/ demeaning the sports of women, d/ missing the freaking point whether intentionally or unintentionally, e/ falling back into what sounds like feminist hating when you again acuse us of just not liking womens bodies – go forth and read: there’s a world of literature out there to tell you all about gender discrimination and its effects, educate yourselves, f/ STOP CHANGING THE ARGUMENT AND ANSWER THE POINTS OF THE POST ITSELF RATHER THAN MAKING PEOPLE ARGUE ON YOUR TERMS

  87. fuckpoliteness

    Ok wait, it’s been a long week. I apologise…read the above as The men who refuse to engage, not the men in general. It’s been a long week of sevaral men telling women they ought to be pleased they’re so highly sexualised etc…apologies to the many men who’ve engaged and had respect for the issues.

  88. Helen

    Thanks, FP!

  89. AndrewT

    As a physiotherapist, I’m well aware that wearing a modern sports material that wicks the sweat away from the skin is actually far more effective at dissipating heat than sweat remaining on bare skin. It might well go against the factoids accepted by the running fraternity who aren’t actually sports scientists, but it is a demonstrated physiological fact.

    Tigtog, this makes no physical sense – by removing sweat from the skin you avoid the evaporative cooling it would provides. This maybe more comfortable (“not sticky”) but it’ll dissipate less heat. I’m just an ignorant runner but here is a sports scientist of the same view: Gavin, 2003 T.P. Gavin, Clothing and thermoregulation during exercise, Sports Medicine 33 (13) (2003), pp. 941–947

  90. Pavlov's Cat

    There you go, Tigtog, you’re not a physiotherapist at all. Or if you are, you don’t know anything, and a ‘sports scientist’ knew more five years ago than you do now. Because everybody knows that ‘science’ doesn’t change in five years.

    Especially not if it justifies women wearing three band-aids to jump up and down in.

    But not men.

    Or something.

  91. tigtog

    I can only access the abstract of the article to which Andrew T refers, which doesn’t offer any simple declarative statement such as Andrew T is making, but I’ll bet that the author T.P Gavin, for one, is well aware that it’s not just as simple as evaporative cooling off bare skin. There is also convective cooling between the air that the athlete moves through and the skin.

    Particularly in warm and highly humid environments, such as Beijing and most other places where the Summer Games are held, the humidity effectively acts as a barrier to simple evaporative cooling because the water content of the air is already highly saturated (this is, for example, the reason that evaporative air-coolers don’t work effectively in Brisbane summers).

    Wicking clothing in these humid environments helps (at least hypothetically) to cool the body by removing the sweat from the skin which would otherwise act as a highly heat-retaining layer of molecules over the top of the skin, which would thus prevent the action of convective cooling between the athlete’s skin and the air molecules around it. With the sweat wicked away, the convection cooling can come into play.

    Of course, there’s also a few confounding studies showing that exercising in bare skin, or Semi-Nude (S/N) as the article describes it, offers no thermoregulatory advantage at all over either cotton or more modern athletic wicking fabrics. Here’s just one, and it’s from our mate T.P. Gavin, too!

    Clothing fabric does not affect thermoregulation during exercise in moderate heat.
    Gavin TP, Babington JP, Harms CA, Ardelt ME, Tanner DA, Stager JM.
    Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Dec;33(12):2124-30.

    CONCLUSION: In summary, before, during, or after exercise in a moderately warm environmental condition, neither the addition of a modest amount of clothing nor the fabric characteristics of this clothing alters physiological, thermoregulatory, or comfort sensation responses.

    Note that this found no thermo-regulation advantage for bare skin over covered skin, which means that there is no scientific rationale for the women to show bare skin, is there?

  92. tigtog

    Also, just looking at the abstract of the study to which Andrew T linked:

    In warm environments, additional clothing increases thermal insulation causing more rapid increases in temperature during exercise and imposes a barrier to sweat evaporation. However, clothing can serve a protective function by reducing radiant heat gain and thermal stress.

    Here Gavin acknowledges that clothing serves a protective function as well as acting as a barrier to evaporation.

    Recent research suggests that neither the inclusion of modest amounts of clothing nor the clothing fabric alter thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions.

    Here Gavin notes that clothing does not disadvantage exercisers with respect to thermoregulation (as per his earlier study which I quote above).

    Future research should include conditions that more closely mimic outdoor conditions, where high work rates, large airflow and high relative humidity can significantly impact thermoregulation.

    Here Gavin acknowledges the effects of airflow and high humidity.

    In short, this article by Gavin simply does not show what you claim it did.

  93. AndrewT

    I’ve appended the relevant paras from Gavin’s article. If you are now saying “you can wear some clothing without it significantly impacting thermoregulation”, I wouldn’t argue with you. It is far more physically plausible than where you started: “wearing a modern sports material that wicks the sweat away from the skin is actually far more effective at dissipating heat “.

    And having run in conditions from 0-40C and humidities from 10-100% yes I’m intimately aware the relative importance of convection, conduction and radiation varies with environment.

    Evaporation of sweat is a very effective method
    of heat elimination from the body as it has been
    shown that 1g of water evaporated absorbs 0.578
    kcal at skin temperature. It is generally accepted
    that clothing acts as a barrier to evaporation of sweat
    and is disadvantageous to body heat regulation
    during hot humid conditions. Nagata has demonstra-
    that the greater the amount of clothing worn, the
    lower the evaporative sweat rate. In addition,
    while clothing that absorbs sweat has been shown to
    be more comfortable, the cooling efficiency for the
    body of such absorbed sweat will be much less thane
    that of sweat evaporated from the skin. Brownlie et
    al. demonstrated that clothing with limited vapour
    permeability caused significant increases in thermal
    stress during treadmill running in 25C.

  94. Darryl Rosin

    “we’re all speculating about the amount of choice athletes have with respect to their clothing.”

    Well, let’s look at the Official Rules then. I’ve been unable to locate the 2008 Olympic regulations, but the 2004 Athens regs are at http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyBall/Competitions/Olympics/WATH2004/2004%20Specific%20Events%20Regulations.pdf

    Section 24.2 says the official men’s uniform is a tank top and shorts and the offical wone’s uniform is a top and briefs or a one piece uniform.

    The bottom of men’s shorts must not be baggy and must finish a minimum of 15cm above the knee. Women’s briefs must be be ‘a close
    fit and be cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg. The side width
    must be maximum 7 cm.’

    So, we have men’s uniforms with a requirement they reveal NO MORE than a certain amount of legs, and a womens’ uniform that requires they revel NO LESS than a certain amount of leg.

    So if you’re a woman and you want to compete in the Olympic Beach Volleyball competition, you have to wear a skimpy bathing suit. If you’re a Man, you have to stick to a certain level of Victorian modesty.

    d

  95. tigtog

    I’ve appended the relevant paras from Gavin’s article. If you are now saying “you can wear some clothing without it significantly impacting thermoregulation”, I wouldn’t argue with you. It is far more physically plausible than where you started: “wearing a modern sports material that wicks the sweat away from the skin is actually far more effective at dissipating heat “.

    I’ll grant you that my original statement should have had some qualifying clauses, but I stand by the beneficial effect that wicking material can provide when compared to bare skin in some cases, especially those where humidity is sufficiently high that it blocks evaporation. I’ll have leisure to chase up some cites later, but note now that the cumulative UV exposure should not be ignored either.

    The Brownlie study of treadmill running mentioned in your quoted para fails to account for a high airflow situation such as running outside, so there’s insufficient allowance made for the contribution of convective cooling, nor is the level of radiant heat affecting exercise outdoors (that clothing protects from) accounted for. That’s why the conclusion of the abstract is that more testing needs to be done in actual outdoor conditions, which I’m confident has indeed happened since 2003.

    There’s still nothing in the quoted portions that indicates that women have a thermoregulatory advantage through baring their midriffs and upper thighs.

  96. Tony Healy

    Can you tell just from looking at that picture, for instance, which events those women run in? 3 out of 4 of them look like they’d definitely have thigh friction happening to me.

    Yep. The women would be doing 1500 or 5000 m. You can tell from their build and stance. I think one of them is Zola Budd, in which case the photo would date from the 80s. The men have explosive power and would be doing something like the 400 m, in this case, in a relay. It’s pure art.

    Regarding cooling, some of the issues that cause confusion are the different characteristics of exercise types. For indoor exercise in still air, it may well be true that clothing makes little difference. But running events are outside, with the runners moving through the air at significant speed. For that reason, bare midriffs do aid in dissipating heat.

    One of the studies refers to clothing protecting against radiative heat. That is certainly a factor in the middle of the day in sunny climates, but distance running events are usually held in the cool of the morning or evening to spare the runners from that problem. Thus, for elite runners, exposed skin has a lot of value in aiding cooling.

    By the way, these elite women runners are brilliant. Why does it matter what they wear?

  97. tigtog

    Some confusion about the picture there: I was referring to the picture I posted at comment #10, which definitely does not include Zola Budd.

    By the way, these elite women runners are brilliant. Why does it matter what they wear?

    It matters because uniforms which make them look like lingerie/swimwear models mean that their achievements are trivialised by those who only look at their bodies, which is not fair to them. It especially matters when it appears that the women have little choice about wearing clothes that might make them feel less vulnerable to the critiques of oglers.

    It’s been shown in other contexts that clothing that emphasises femininity has a negative performance effect on women with regard to various tasks. Do some googling on “stereotype threat”. I’m not sure why anyone would assume that Olympians would be immune from this.

  98. Umm Yasmin

    Hence, many a Muslim woman who argues her veil is a way of saying “no” to public consumption of her body :P

  99. tigtog

    I’d rather change the social attitudes that make public consumption of women’s bodies be considered as an entitlement.

    I do understand the emotional appeal of that argument for hijab even while I don’t agree with the rationale for women having to cover up so very much more than the men. It’s just another double standard, and it would be a far finer world if there was more genuine respect for people’s personal choices (and especially respect for their refusals) and less shoe-horning of people into genderised double standards.

    Back to uniforms: the blatant lookism is also demonstrated in the other double standard, whereby women in sports that favour a gracile build are mandated to wear skimpy uniforms and women in sports that favour a more robust physique are supplied with uniforms that cover them up more, because apparently skin covering bulging female muscles rather than just “cut” female muscles is not something that the oglers wish to see.

  100. Darryl Rosin

    ‘men’s uniforms with a requirement they reveal NO MORE than a certain amount of legs (sic)’

    Sorry, I got the facts right, but the interpretation backwards. Both gender uniforms require a minimum amount of leg to be shown. The men’s minimum is just above the knee and the women’s minimum is around the hip.

    d

  101. Umm Yasmin

    Tigtog @99 There’s the ideal world and then there’s reality :) Hijab is simply pragmatism.

    Funny you should mention the ‘cut body’ look. I was thinking the other day about sexism in football (given that I rarely follow/watch/think about sport I don’t know what started off that jag but anyhoo) and why women aren’t allowed to play AFL football at the top rank. I know the normal argument is because women’s bits would get hurt in such a rough game, but I was thinking if you showed your average person a picture of this type of a female body, would they really try and argue that still?

  102. Fine

    Becasue Umm Yasmin, women at the top rank don’t have the physical power to match men at the top rank. As a feminist, I have no problem with that issue.

    The body you posted isn’t one that works for fotball. Anyone with muscles that big can’t actually do very mmuch. If you look at the football matches, the bodies are quite different.

    I don’t want to sidetrack into hajib arguments, but you raised it. The sort of pragmatism you mention leads only one way. No women on the streets because that’s the pragmatic answer and womn blamed for men asaulting them. It also ignores the fact that most assaults aganist women happen in the home. What women wear has nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault.

  103. murph the surf

    Well Tigtog all I can add is that we surfers all need toe to neck wetsuits most of the year and when it is warmer in the water sensible surfers wear rash vests and long boardies regardless of their gender.
    The mandated rules for uniforms are pretty hard to rationalise as anything other than other’s control of women athletes appearance.
    Are the administrators worried that a competitive advantage will be sort by the unscruplous or that some individuals will use the event for non sporting purposes ? Anna Kournakova certainly attracted far more attention than her tennis ability merited.

  104. tigtog

    Becasue Umm Yasmin, women at the top rank don’t have the physical power to match men at the top rank. As a feminist, I have no problem with that issue.

    While I acknowledge that men in the top rank of these sports will always be a vast majority because of their height/power advantage, in that case it wouldn’t be necessary to ban women from the sports would it? It would be obvious to all that they wouldn’t match the men in tryouts, so they would never make the top squads anyway, so why do they need a ban?

    I wonder how many women could at least qualify in the second reserves of a sport they love playing if it wasn’t for these bans? And if they could qualify, why shouldn’t they play?

  105. Fine

    I agree tigtog, it’s pointless that wpmen should be banned as women won’t make the top echelon anyway. I’m not sure if your idea would work, because wouldn’t there be just as many men to compete with in the next tier? I think the solution is for the sports that women excel in to be given more respect. And running around in bikinis to gain an audience seems counterproductive to me.

    Horseracing is one sport that I know something about. There’s still a great deal of prejudice against women jockeys becasue they don’t have the physical strength of men and supposedly, enough of the killer instinct. It assumes that the harder you whack a horse the faster it goes, but as someone who spent a few years working in racing stables I know that isn’t true. Interestingly, it’s the horse owners who tend to be prejudiced aganist women, rather than the trainers, who have a more realistic view. But the winner of the jockey’s premiership in Adelaide for the last two years has ben Clare Lindop, who’s a great rider. Hopefully, things will improve.

  106. Pavlov's Cat

    I don’t want to sidetrack into hajib arguments, but you raised it. The sort of pragmatism you mention leads only one way. No women on the streets because that’s the pragmatic answer and womn blamed for men asaulting them. It also ignores the fact that most assaults aganist women happen in the home. What women wear has nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault.

    Sympathetic as I am to it, Fine, I think this is a dangerous argument in a couple of ways. Perhaps the pragmatic answer does ‘lead only one way’ — but to make that argument leads the other way, down a different track, to the same place: denying women the freedom to choose what to wear. I think the only possible way out of this, as out of so many other dilemmas, is a process of continuing negotiation along the faultline.

    As for ‘What women wear has nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault’ — of course it shouldn’t, but I fear the awful truth is that is does, however much we may hate the idea. The recent Cleavage Thread of Doom here, to which you contributed so valiantly, has convinced me of this. Look at the number of regular male commentators on this blog whom I’ve come to ‘know’ quite well (and like) over the last few years who — to my astonishment and dismay — seemed simply unable to get their heads around the notion that women’s breasts are not all about men: that breasts are not, in themselves, an invitation; that they do not, in themselves, signal consent.

    What women wear should have nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault. But if that thread is anything to go by, it does, and it will continue to do so until the majority of men can accept that what women do or do not wear is not all about men.

    And judging by the Puppies Thread, that time is still a very long way off. What women wear should have nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault — but it does. I’m not say we should accept that; I’m saying we must protect ourselves from it until we can change it.

  107. tigtog

    What women wear should have nothing to do with sexual harassment or assault — but it does. I’m not say we should accept that; I’m saying we must protect ourselves from it until we can change it.

    Not sure I fully agree here, PC, although I’m with you on the gist of needing to protect ourselves.

    While the social acceptance of men ogling women wearing clothing that may reveal some bosom or leg, even if the women concerned are dressed that way only for their own comfort, certainly does feed into the sense of sexual entitlement that then leads some men to rape, the women they actually rape may not be wearing revealing clothing at all, they are just women that the rapist was able to isolate so that they were vulnerable.

    The number of women who are raped in their own home while wearing sweatpants, T-shirts and no makeup is testimony that limiting where one goes and what one wears will not, of itself, protect one from sexual harassment or assault.

  108. Pavlov's Cat

    the women they actually rape may not be wearing revealing clothing at all

    No, of course not, and my bad for not making it clear enough that that’s not what I meant: there are two separate issues here, I think. I was focusing more on the staggeringly depressing conclusions I had drawn from the Puppies thread: that there are various kinds of impetus behind sexual assualt and rape, and one of them is the kind of male solipsism that assumes any exposed female flesh, whatever the actual reason for its exposure, is either an invitation to or an excuse for everything from unseemly ogling to full-on rape.

  109. Pavlov's Cat

    Also, when I used the word ‘protect’ I was thinking more along the lines of ‘be more self-protective’ (which as you point out doesn’t necessarily translate as ‘safe’, unfortunately).

    What worries me in these discussions is the elision from (1) the perfectly reasonable claiming of the right to be safe from sexual assault to (2) actually doing things that will make us more vulnerable to it. I recently read something by a young woman about contemporary drinking habits among her peers (“pre-drinking”??) and it worried the life out of me; in asserting the right of young women to get wasted in public without being raped, a right I agree they do have and that I too exercised more than once in my wild youth, she seemed to be making the logical error of thinking that because she claimed that as a right, it was therefore somehow safe to do it. Fail.

  110. Helen

    But if you never claim it as a right, you’ll never get it.
    I have some sympathy for your view Pav. But in Australia the quite reasonable view that the onus is on men not to rape has not got much play yet, perhaps due to our (barf) “larrikin” culture. I’d like to see if the landscape changes if the idea of teaching boys it is their responsibility not to rape, not the woman’s not to get raped, changes things down the track. After all, the idea of women voting once seemed laughable and silly to many otherwise normal people.

    How to get that idea out there, into the FHM boy’s culture, into sex ed classes, into the sporting clubs – that’s hard I admit.

  111. Pavlov's Cat

    I’d like to see if the landscape changes if the idea of teaching boys it is their responsibility not to rape, not the woman’s not to get raped, changes things down the track.

    Yes, that’s part of what’s needed — to acknowledge what an agonisingly slow process it is. (‘What do we want?’ ‘Incremental change!’ ‘When do we want it?’ ‘In due course!’)

    I was taught as a teenager in the late 60s, when one’s poor Ma had not only three adolescent daughters but an unfolding sexual revolution to contend with, that the responsibility for boys’ sexual behaviour was all mine, because ‘Boys can’t control themselves.’ The teachers at our all-girls school who got the short straw of having intimate chats with us about proper behaviour taught us this as well; it was the mantra of the times. And I remember my housemate coming home in the late 70s after a hard day at the teaching cliff-face of a boys’ high school and telling me she’d spent half the afternoon explaining to a class of disbelieving 17-year-old boys that ‘rape’ was not a synonym for ‘have sex with’.

    But if they know the difference now, and if young women are no longer being told (as I presume) that male sexual behaviour is their responsibility, then even that is an improvement.

    What were the parents of boys telling them in the 60s and 70s? What are they telling them now?

  112. Zarquon

    Isn’t the whole idea of the fencing costume with all of the attached instrumentation to show us their hits?

  113. tigtog

    Nice one, Zarquon.

  114. tigtog

    What were the parents of boys telling them in the 60s and 70s? What are they telling them now?

    Well I’m telling mine all the things you’d expect a feminist mother to tell him, and so is his Dad, especially with regard to sex and consent.

    I don’t get the impression that most of the other boys his age are getting told the same thing though.

  115. B.Lyle

    I don’t get the impression that most of the other boys his age are getting told the same thing though.

    Sure they are, it’s just getting drowned out by the ‘Life’s short, be the Alpa Male’ bollocks that’s become so fashionable. It’s kind wierd how at a time when individualism is the highest virtue that it’s started be discussed in terms of group/herd animal dynamics. I guess, never let science get in the way of a good marketing opportunity.

  116. Fine

    I see what you’re getting at Dr. Cat. It’s a complex argument. Yes, if you’re going to get wasted, you’re going to leave yourself open to sexual assault because you’re obviously vulnerable. How I escaped some of my youthful escapades I don’t know.

    But, I’m not sure that what women wear has anything to do with it. I think it’s more to do with perceived vulnerability and a hefty dose of very bad luck. I think of some of the recent cases of very old women being assaulted in nursing homes. They were very vulnerable and they were preyed upon.

  117. D'oh!

    Yes, those 80 year olds flaunting their naughty flanellete nighties. Shame!

    And as Kaz Cooke pointed out, what’s with all these terrible nuns and schoolgirls going about dressed as … nuns and schoolgirls. Don’t they know that’s classic fetish gear! :-)

    [/thread derail, sorry]

  118. Pavlov's Cat

    But, I’m not sure that what women wear has anything to do with it. I think it’s more to do with perceived vulnerability and a hefty dose of very bad luck. I think of some of the recent cases of very old women being assaulted in nursing homes. They were very vulnerable and they were preyed upon.

    Yes, of course. Like I said to Tigtog, it’s not that I don’t see that point; my school uniform got me into trouble on at least two occasions that I remember. But this is a separate point, born of the insistence by at least 20 very different men on the boobs thread that what women wear does affect men’s perceptions of their availability, often quite erroneously. The revelations of that thread — which I found incredibly depressing, partly because of the widespread male incomprehension and partly because of my own incomprehension (unpardonable at my age, really) of the way men see this issue — indicated that all sorts of blokes, including apparently perfectly nice ones, not only read uncovered flesh as a deliberate invitation to them personally, but also get quite snarky when that assumption is questioned. It seems to me that in situations where these beliefs get acted out, the result is going to be sexual assault.

  119. Fine

    But, then what to do about it Dr. Cat? I have no answers in a general sense. I know walking around in a hessian sack won’t prevent sexual assault and I know I won’t let let myself be constrained by what men think I should do. So, I don’t know what the answer is.

  120. Pavlov's Cat

    But, then what to do about it Dr. Cat? I have no answers in a general sense.

    I dunno either — not after that thread, anyway. What depressed me about it so mightily was the general male refusal to believe what the women were saying. I’ve always thought education was the answer to almost everything, but how do you educate people who can’t or won’t comprehend what you’re telling them?

    I think that a lot of women of earlier generations gave up and did not resist (in situations that would otherwise have technically been rape) out of a horrible combination of wanting to seem compliant and nice, and not wanting to get hurt. (And if they were raped then they usually didn’t report it, not wanting to be murderously humiliated in court. It was standard until very recently for a rape victim to get crucified in court for her own sexual history: if the defending lawyer could prove that an unmarried victim had previously had sex, then obviously she was a slut and everyone knows if she’s a slut then it’s not rape, any more than if it’s your wife then it’s not rape. These attitudes were still the prevailing ones in the 1970s.)

    One thing that gives me hope is that my generation raised that bar — we expected better and raised hell when we didn’t get it — and I think yours has raised it higher again. But it doesn’t solve the problem of the hessian sack, does it.

  121. Helen

    Actually the law would be a good start, and I don’t mean the code, but the milieu and judges’ attitudes. I think the fact that male judges work until they drop dead of old age is wonderful, sure, but there should be some requirement to keep up with social mores. (Cough*Rougher than usual handling cough*)

  122. Pavlov's Cat

    Yes, I was thinking of him too!

  123. Liam

    On the topic of AFL women’s leagues, TT, Fine and UmmYasmin: I’m a frequent spectator, for reasons of the heart, at games of the Sydney Women’s AFL, and can give a bit of detail on this, at least for the NSW league.
    Uniforms for women are identical to those worn in men’s leagues (except that they’re in women’s sizes). Some women wear bike shorts underneath shorts, some do not. I haven’t made a survey of reasons why and don’t plan to.
    The only major rule difference between leagues is the use of a smaller ball, which was apparently a controversial change: it’s easier to scoop up from the ground with a smaller sized hand, but it’s much more difficult to kick accurately. The league is age-open but only the most well-developed teenagers would want to compete against some of the adult women players. There’s almost no bodybuilding evident, though levels of athletism range from fair to extreme. It’s rough but then that’s the point.
    Compared to the equivalent non-pro division of the men’s league, the major difference is the speed at which players hit each other, and kicking range (directly related to the ball size, see my comments above); I haven’t been able to pick out much difference in skill or ability. I doubt that any women would want to play in the men’s league, or v/v, but mostly for social, not sporting, reasons.
    At the children’s Auskick games there is no sex-segregation, nor is there for juniors up to u/13s or u/15s, varying competition to competition. The major problem for girls/young women is that in Sydney that’s where access to AFL stops, leaving a significant gap. The alternative to mixed junior leagues is more development of junior girls’ leagues, something that would leave everyone, including football, the winner.

  124. Fine

    Thanks for the info Liam. AFL does need to be rough to be AFL. I’ve seen some women playing in Melbourne and I wouldn’t them to give a hip and shoulder.

  125. Lefty E

    I went to a VFL game recently at Optus Oval (old Carlton ground for those who go “AFL, wha?”). Sandringham v Northern Bullants.

    It was tops: $10, and kids go free. Pies, hot dogs: old school times.

    Bugger AFL. Too much noise. Go VFL. Have a quiet time at an old suburban ground.

  126. FDB

    So, LE – that was you yelling and spoiling my quiet Sunday enjoyment was it? Does David Gallagher still play for Sando?

    I bought a place right over the road on Bowen Crescent nearly a year ago and still haven’t dragged my carcass over for a game. *slaps own wrist*

    Word has it some of the more outer-suburban grounds still let you BYO. There’s a dude out at Preston (Bullants) home ground who flogs $3 tinnies without a licence from the tray of his ute.

  127. Lefty E

    Nice spot, FDB! And yes, you are a slacktard for not crossing the road on any given Saturday.

    It seems pretty low key and unregulated since the AFL left town. You can’t get a juice for a 4yo – but there’s a tinnies stall, and various fundraising enterprises who’ll do you a snag with bread and sauce.

    I recommend following the sun around the ground while you watch. I wouldn’t have a clue what dudes was playing though!

  128. Sean

    FDB, I assume that when you are playing cricket you are not only clothed but rather heavily so; by the standards of summer sport, yours wears a 3 piece suit.

    The question to Tigtog wasn’t a gotcha, the answer would affect your ‘tood to this question. Anyway, I played baseball as a kid which has similar clothing requirements to cricket, and I still reckon your chafing problem has more to do with layers of underdaks, jock straps, protector, thigh pads for you cricketers and long pants. If you stood around a field all day in the nude, occasionally going for short runs, your only skin problem would be sunburn.

    I left baseball for rowing at about 15. Once I was at intervarsity level we dressed exactly like those women basketballers above. I remember thinking it a great advance on the shorts & singlets of my poor guvvament high school rowing days. Actually in one crew, we were back to shorts again so we agreed to get some bike shorts. Unfortunately our captain of boats was a tight-arse and found out that the women’s shorts were cheaper. A few puzzled looks when we first put those on, and definitely a false economy if you’re tempted.

    My main joy was both rugby codes, though. In that and distance running (which I’ve only ever done as general training or for fitness tests, not competitively), I always find that it’s the 4-way seam where the inside top of the legs meet that chafes, especially when wet with sweat. Which is why I do indeed wear bike shorts underneath, or sometimes on their own if it’s just a jog and I reckon the ladeez deserve a bit of a Matt Shirvington.

    Sorry, that was boorish.

    However, I noticed on the weekend the female marathon runners were in the skimpy shorts that don’t extend down the leg. Since they weren’t thus left bleeding from the inner thighs after 42kms in high humidity, I assume I’m right and you’re not.

    PS: Pushing 40 and gave up the rah rah this year, hammy’s having packed it in and retired to the old muscles’ home. So yeah, not much sport at all.

    Tigtog, do you **really** think that most non-Tigtog houses are teaching their little fellas to be rapists???

  129. fuckpoliteness

    Sean, do you *really* think that’s what tigtog’s comment says?

    It says that she doesn’t get the feeling the other boys are getting the feminist talks about sex and consent – what’s controversial about that observation?

  130. Sean

    I dunno fuck,… may I call you fuck, btw? It seemed to me that we’re assuming that Teh Bogans are all teaching their boys that Scantilly Clad Lil Hoes Are Askin’ For It, which I think is an unfair generalisation. We’re off topic though aint we.

    I’ll accept that alot of parents might never think to say “Oh and don’t rape anyone”, they assuming it’s a given, and a bit insulting to the young lad to suggest otherwise. Mine’s only 3, so for now he’s just getting the message that hitting mum is even worse than hitting dad.

  131. tigtog

    Exactly, FP – particularly as the feminist concept of consent as enthusiastic assent rather than the legal concept of consent (in sexual matters) as simply “not saying no” is still considered rather controversial in society at large.

    The bulk of the British population believes that women who drink and are raped when drunk have contributed to their own rape, or indeed cannot really be raped because they believe that drunk women are always “up for it”, rather than viewing such attacks (as feminists do) as a premeditated selection of a vulnerable victim by the rapist. I’d be surprised if the Australian population’s opinion is much different.

    There also seems to be a common belief in our society that a woman who agrees to have sex with one footballer can be assumed to have agreed to be gangbanged by half a dozen of his mates as well, so that her consent for sex with one man is used to argue that she then cannot say no to the others, so that her complaints of rape are discounted because she was willing to engage in one sex act but not any others.

    Now, I’m teaching my son that men who have sex with women who are unconscious for any reason including alcohol consumption are coward scum rapists, and that men who trick a woman into a room alone with them and then invite their mates in to coerce her into sexual acts are also coward scum rapists.

    Given the comments that always come out whenever drunk women are raped or footballers are accused of raping women in a group, most people believe that such women were “asking for it” and therefore that they weren’t really raped. So most people are not teaching their sons (or their daughters) that men who do such things are cowardly scum rapists.

  132. b.lyle

    I think people from lower socio-economic backgrounds probably are teaching their children to be nice to Teh Ladies, in the ‘if you’re going to hurt someone make sure they’re male’ kind of way.

    The problem is, they haven’t had the privilege of attending a Women’s Studies themed university course, and as we live in a Patriarchal society, the most well meant instruction they could offer will obviously seem flawed to those who have spent months or years of their life analysing gender interactions in an academic setting.

  133. klaus k

    It was never really discussed in my house, and we’re not talking a very long time ago either – my youngest sibling is only 18 now. While I don’t blame my parents for that, and I think that their stances on other issues may have implied a particular understanding of consent, I was still left hanging out there without ever really being led into a discussion of sexual ethics. I think young men who aren’t being guided on these issues are at great risk of ending up in a context where certain ideas about sexual ethics are the norm, and of taking on those ideas, or of never really rejecting them and thus implicitly justifying the behaviour of others.

  134. tigtog

    It seemed to me that we’re assuming that Teh Bogans are all teaching their boys that Scantilly Clad Lil Hoes Are Askin’ For It, which I think is an unfair generalisation.

    Where do you get the impression that I think this attitude is confined to “Teh Bogans”? The lack of discussion of sexual ethics, especially with regard to consent issues, is a problem in our whole society, even more so I would hypothesise in families with money to access good defence lawyers. At least kids in poorer families can be believably told that they might end up in gaol.

  135. Pavlov's Cat

    Hoo boy, free-floating hostility, anyone?

    I am inclined to think that what most male children are getting these days are grotesquely mixed messages. Anyone seen the Hyundai ad with Kostya Tszyu and his tough little boysie boy de boys punching and breaking and smashing things with their kid-sized boxing gloves? And isn’t that just ever so funny and cute? Boxers are tough, yes? Got sons, very manly of him, right? Hit, smash and destroy from an early age, got it?

    It’s not as simple as saying ‘Don’t be a rapist, it isn’t nice.’ If only it were that simple.

    *Sits back tiredly to await the chorus of ‘Fuck’n feminists got no sense of humour*

  136. fuckpoliteness

    Ýeah, sure you can call me Fuck,so long as I can call you Arse.

    Who said anything (besides you) about Teh Bogans? Do you think that only bogans rape? Cos I didn’t say that and nor did tigtog, you pulled that one out yourself.

    Just so as we’re clear I grew up in extroadinarily working class settings thanks, and attended a University (being the first in my entire family history to go to university, indeed to get to year twelve)with a conservative right wing bent mostly made up of evangelical Christians. I have a debt I’ll likely never be able to pay off for the priviledge of studying, and I do indeed spend time analysing gender interactions as I actually think they’re important, and if you do not then go read criminal law and get back to me.

    So proceed with your witty generalisations for your own amusement, just know they’re wrong.

    Feminism is about more (and different) than your reductionist ‘didn’t really mean it anyway just said it to be funny cos I’m oh so freaking witty’ “It’s worse to hit mum than to hit dad”.

    If you wanna know then go do some readings.

    You can call me fuckpoliteness, and if you want to know what I teach my son to make this world a better place, or what my background is then next time you can damned well ask.

    Quick summary though? My son has known from an early age (yes, less than three) that his body is his own, and that if anyone attempts to interfere with it that is not their right and he can look for help until someone helps properly. He knows that erections are normal and nothing to be ashamed of and that when he’s touching himself he just needs to go o his room, isntead of ‘yuck, that’s dirty” and the usual crap. I say consistently “when you grow up and have a girlfriend or a boyfriend”, or “boyfriend or a girlfriend” so he knows it’s ok whoever he wants to be with. I teach him to read and analyse and talk back to media so he can think for himself. He knows about sex, he knows it is a part of life, not a big thing to freak out and be embarrassed over. He knows that people enjoy it. He knows gay, straight, bisexual and transgender adults. He knows people enjoy sex with each other and on their own, and yes, since it’s come up he knows what rape is…OOOH terrible terrible priviledged feminist wanker teaching her kids such idiotic ideas.

  137. Leigh

    Tigtog oh come on do you really think that?

  138. tigtog

    Leigh #137

    Tigtog oh come on do you really think that?

    Care to be a little more specific as to what you are referencing?

  139. Leigh

    Are you saying that some folks who are well off do’nt teach their sons about respect?

  140. Can I Get Some Action From The Back Section?

    Yeah, sure you can call me Fuck,so long as I can call you Arse.

    That’s the line of the week right there. I picture a late-1990s cheesy MC doing crowd interaction, “when I say fuck! you say…” and so on.

  141. tigtog

    Leigh #139:

    Are you saying that some folks who are well off do’nt teach their sons about respect?

    Most Australian families, at all socioeconomic levels, hardly discuss the mechanics of sex with their children effectively, let alone sexual ethics. Our culture is typically repressed when it comes to discussing sexual matters openly without prejudice and morality judgements.

    As Pavlov’s Cat says above, and as Klaus alluded to in cases where parents just assume that their own values will be both obvious and inherited, many young people are therefore left to deal with all the mixed messages from the media and internet porn and urban legends from their mates with very little parental guidance as to matters of respect or more importantly empathy. So yes, most parents, including those who are well off, don’t teach their sons about respect. Indeed, “respectable” families rarely discuss these things at all.

    The attitude that some girls in some situations are “asking for it” is disturbingly widespread, and whereas young men from poor families are wary of being “fitted up” by the police even if “it wasn’t really rape”, young men from affluent families are very well aware that that’s unlikely to happen to them. I think this can breed a sense of arrogant entitlement that makes them at least as likely to engage in coercive sex with one of these vulnerable young women as Teh Bogans are, and quite possibly more so.

  142. Leigh

    Don’t agree with all of what you say but understand where you are coming from.Thanks

  143. FDB

    Anecdotally, and having moved in certain circles somewhat above my social station, I have noticed some pretty disturbing attitudes to women (often from women).

    I reckon on average your private school priveleged toff is less likely to go out and pull a woman into an alley (rape with violence or threats thereof) but just as likely or more so to use other kinds of coercion in sexual assault.

    Basically each uses the skillset gained from bullying or being bullied in their childhood and school environment.

  144. tigtog

    I reckon on average your private school priveleged toff is less likely to go out and pull a woman into an alley (rape with violence or threats thereof) but just as likely or more so to use other kinds of coercion in sexual assault.

    Of course, the whole “stranger pulling women in to an alley” scenario is the rarest form of rape in any case – most sexual assaults are due to coercion of various kinds (including violence and threats thereof), or manipulation into an incapacitated condition, used against women in the rapist’s social circle.

  145. Lefty E

    I do try to tell my 4 yo girl things like “no is allowed to cuddle you unless you want then to”. As for boys, I think growing up in an environment that is generally respectful of women will tend to do the trick – without needing to get too specific. Maybe up that to more focussed messages when they’re 13.

    On a previous topic – FDB, I will leave a post next time my daughter and I go down to Princes Pk for a match.

  146. Umm Yasmin

    Fine @102:

    Hi Fine, I’m not of the Hilali school, so I don’t believe wearing material on your head protects you from assault and rape. Those crimes have to do with abuses of power over women, and very little to do with sexuality. In terms of protection from assault, the Isma’ report makes it clear that wearing a hijab in Australia probably *increases* your chances of assault sadly enough.

    There is such a thing as a middle/moderate response, and hijab does not automatically require seclusion and privatisation of women (in fact if you look at the Muslim majority world, ‘purdah’ or the privatisation of women is relatively rare, and mostly only upper-class women).

    But the sexual exploitation of women’s bodies is very common in our society, it’s almost cliche to talk about the body-image problems associated with reading too much Dolly/Cosmo, use of women’s sexualised bodies to sell Chicko rolls and cars, the recent Zoo ads (blech) etc. etc.

    Re: muscled bodies. Golf appears to be slowly coming around (and as you mentioned in a subsequent post, horse-racing) but I can’t see how there would be *that* much variation between a top atheletic female body and athletic male bodies in general that do manage to get themselves into football. Sure women might always be a small minority, but why exclusion in toto?

    Liam @123 wrote:

    “Compared to the equivalent non-pro division of the men’s league, the major difference is the speed at which players hit each other, and kicking range (directly related to the ball size, see my comments above)”

    So, it’s possible that a really really really good woman football player could be better than an average male football player (even at AFL status?)

    Fine @124

    “Thanks for the info Liam. AFL does need to be rough to be AFL. I’ve seen some women playing in Melbourne and I wouldn’t them to give a hip and shoulder.”

    That’s my point. Would you have the same problem with the female bodybuilder I posted?

  147. Liam

    Umm Yasmin, I don’t think there are easy answers to that question. Footballers in the AFL don’t have physiques quite like those of any other athlete because they train—and are paid to train—specifically for that sport, each player training differently according to his field position. Nobody but an AFL footballer could play AFL as well as an AFL footballer, but that kind of statement only makes the same sense as saying that nothing fits in a bayonet light fitting like a bayonet light globe. They’re élite athletes, and are just different.
    In a mixed australian rules game at an amateur level, the *average* male player might enjoy advantages over the *average* female player in height, sprint speed, strength in contests for the ball and marking, and in hand size for one-handed pickups. The average player never plays the average player, however. Within segregated leagues the same differences occur, and frankly, the tactics used by those players to compete against each other form the attraction of the game. For what it’s worth I think sex-segregation in contact sport is due to social rather than sporting concerns; it’s about avoiding (hetero)sexualisation of the sport between players, rather than ensuring fairness of competition. The ruck is a homosocial affair, not to be spoiled with cross-gender grappling.
    I think, finally, you’re imagining that people play football in order to achieve a bodily ideal, cut, muscular, or otherwise. In my experience of playing in the u/13s through u/19s divisions and watching the adult women’s game, it’s quite the other way around.

  148. FDB

    “For what it’s worth I think sex-segregation in contact sport is due to social rather than sporting concerns”

    It’s also about reducing injury, as my Lady Friend’s fractured radius will attest. She got on the scoreboard, she took a mark, she laid some great tackles, and she’s far from frail but at the end of the day… one dropped shoulder from a heavyset dude, and shit starts snapping.

  149. Liam

    FDB, that’s not just sex difference. Some of the women players in the league could take Tony Lockett on for heavysettery. Hip and shoulder nothing—I’ve watched women full-forwards who could pick me up and tie me in a loop.

  150. tigtog

    I do try to tell my 4 yo girl things like “no is allowed to cuddle you unless you want then to”.

    Onya – that’s one of the most important sexual ethics lessons that a child can get at an early age. Little kids understand reciprocity better than grownups sometimes, I’m sure.

    As for boys, I think growing up in an environment that is generally respectful of women will tend to do the trick – without needing to get too specific. Maybe up that to more focussed messages when they’re 13.

    Agreed – the specific messages aren’t needed when boys are younger. Part of the problem is that it’s just when kids need to hear the specific messages most – the early teens – that both kids and parents start to get very squeamish about discussing sexual matters with each other. The frank curiosity of the younger child, and the willingness of the parent to explain things, get shrouded in embarrassment because bodily changes mean that sex has moved beyond the realm of pure speculation and into a distinct possibility.

    It’s important to have laid the groundwork for such discussions at earlier ages so that it’s easier to overcome this sort of squeamishness.

  151. FDB

    Correct Liam.

    My sample of one, playing a once-annual game with zero training, isn’t the most compelling argument! Incidentally that was the third Grudge Match we’ve done, and the second broken arm for a girl.

    But the age where unisex footy ends is the point where you have diverging average physical strength between the sexes. Another argument for segregated girls’ comps.

    Our solution is going to be a 25m arc around the goal at one end of the ground (the one the wind blows towards), which will be women only. Full forward/back, plus the two forward/back pockets. Lasses will get to duke it out against each other, get more chances to score, and hopefully our little annual jaunt can continue with a minimum of trips to emergency.

  152. Liam

    Alternatively, Rec Footy.

  153. FDB

    Nah, we considered something like Rec Footy, but it’s pretty different and frankly the physicality is part of the point. We are talking after all about a once-annual chance for Freo and West Coast supporters to really let it all out. A good healthy mix of skill, violence and foul-mouthed banner-run-throughs, with beer and oranges.

    The mix is just about right, with zero genuine ill-feeling. All we need to stamp out is the snapping of forearms really. The odd rib doesn’t really matter (one per year so far).

  154. Cattledog! Cattledog!

    Ah, say no more. I wondered what you meant by “grudge” match, and I see that no solution without touch-ups behind the play would do. Go to it, young man, and bring back the biff.

  155. Fine

    Umm Yasmin, I’ve got nothing against women wearing the hijab at all. I do understand it doesn’t mean segregation. I’ve never understood the fuss it provokes. For heaven sakes, it’s just a scarf. And our own dear Queen wears one from time to time. I just don’t like suggestions that dressing in a specific way will protect women from unwanted attention. I can easily believe that not wearing a hijab would be the easier deal.

    On the questions of bodies. Well, the boys started dissecting that one in forensic detail and I would bow to their greater knowledge. I do think that in sports that rely on physical stength and speed the top men are always going to beat the top women.

    The point about my horse-racing example is that success has nothing to do with physical strength. It’s all about skill. Interestingly, male and female racehorses compete against each other, but not on an equal basis. The mare actually carry less weight on their back because generally they’re smaller framed.

  156. Fine

    Sorry, I didn’t answer your question about the female bodybuilder. I think a body so muscle bound probalby means they’re incapable of playing any sport. Certainly, it looks nothing like the build an AFL footaballer needs. Do body builders of different genders compete against each other?

  157. Pavlov's Cat

    I just don’t like suggestions that dressing in a specific way will protect women from unwanted attention.

    But nobody on this thread has suggested that, have they?

    Umm Yasmin said way back at #98 that “many a Muslim woman … argues her veil is a way of saying “no” to public consumption of her body”, which is not at all the same thing as saying that it will make you safe. Further down-thread, I’ve been arguing something very specific: that recent evidence on this very blog has shown me how many men ‘read’ revealing clothing as an invitation, or a sign saying SLUT: I’M UP FOR IT, or a proposition, or whatever, and that that male reading of female exposure (not the exposure itself as such) can sometimes make women more vulnerable whether they like it or not. But that’s not at all the same thing as arguing that covering up makes you safe. That would be the same kind of logical fallacy as saying that if you stop eating burgers then you’ll never have a heart attack.

  158. dj

    Women and Men play in the same teams in a few sports (including my own) and I am aware of Women playing in Men’s teams in sports such as football (soccer) and cricket. The cultural issue is a big thing to me – I gave up playing AFL because the club that I played for was full of people I didn’t want to be around when they were in a male-only environment. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for a woman to put up with them.

    Having big muscles doesn’t necessarily mean you lack agility. It depends on the types of muscles and training you do to get them. You will be less agile though than someone of equal strength who does not weigh as much. As muscle size is not a reliable indicator of strength or power, this is quite possible. In terms of the AFL, when you are running the distances they do during games and training, you’re looking at a totally different physiology to sports such as Rugby or American Football. In Rugby you get far longer rests between bouts of activity and the distances covered in each effort are far less than they are in AFL.

  159. Fine

    Dr. Cat, I guess I’m drawing a correlation between public consumption of the body and unwanted attention. I know you’re referring to the way women are perceived, but I think part of problem of the public consumption is that it’s unwanted attention.

    As you say, ” that that male reading of female exposure (not the exposure itself as such) can sometimes make women more vulnerable whether they like it or not.” The issue I have is that one of the answers to that problem of vulnerability that may be put forward is that women should cover up. We may know that’s nonsense, but it’s nonsense we hear all the time.

  160. Adrien

    Sorry to disagree but I believe that male and female athletes have been promoted both as performers and people to ogle. Don’t pay much attention to sport generally but I haven’t noticed any particularly gratuitous imagery. The only difference I’ve noticed is Stephanie Rice appeared in one of those men’s magazines. I haven’t seen the spread but I assume it maximizes the ‘ogle’ aspect. I’m not sure if it denigrates her, however, as a performer.
    .
    Are there magazines aimed at women which provide ogle spreads of men? If there are I’d assume athletes will be well-represented. If there aren’t then it’s not because it’s illegal.
    .
    Of course there are still heaps of male bores who have to express their appreciation for the female form in the most gutteral mode available. I wish they’d all get packed off to the zoo as well. What can you do?

  161. Helen

    I think people from lower socio-economic backgrounds probably are teaching their children to be nice to Teh Ladies, in the ‘if you’re going to hurt someone make sure they’re male’ kind of way.

    The problem is, they haven’t had the privilege of attending a Women’s Studies themed university course, and as we live in a Patriarchal society, the most well meant instruction they could offer will obviously seem flawed to those who have spent months or years of their life analysing gender interactions in an academic setting.

    Oh, please. Have you been going about in a little Cloud of Unknowing of your own? As Tigtog pointed out, your young successful entitled white dude is as likely to coerce sex as your burnout-Ford-driving malaka. I would also point to the ivy-league “frat boy” phenomenon in the US, which is responsible for some horrible shit. However, your working/middle class boys aren’t noble savages of chivalry, either. Google “Kings Werribee rape” when you’ve got time.

  162. b.lyle

    161 helen.

    You’re perfectly right, and after I’d made the post I realised the inclusion of ‘lower socio-economic’ was a mistake. It was never my intention to describe a divide simply between ‘educated and ‘uneducated’, but rather those with a background in gender studies and those without.

    My point is really that whatever parents teach their children, unless they’ve had the opportunity to study Feminism at university, or some equivalent, their understanding of these things will never be everything that we would want it to be, or even close to it. I think we forget sometimes how complex these things are, take it for granted, and become frustrated and judgemental about those who don’t seem to ‘get it’.

    In short, until the entire world receives an indepth instruction and understanding of feminism, parents instruction to their children will seem lacking, but that doesn’t mean they they aren’t getting taught all manner of anti-rape messages.

  163. Adrien

    I believe that: Do Not Hurt Women is fundamental to every civilized man regardless of socio-economic disposition.

  164. Sean

    Fuckpoliteness,

    just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean I’m not part of the patriarchy.

  165. b.lyle

    163. Adrien

    But the statistics apparently prove otherwise, that’s why we’re having this conversation.(Unless you have some particular and very narrow defintion of who counts as a ‘civilised man’, mostly defined by who can be safely loaded on train carriages and sent for ‘rehabilitation.’)

    The problem really is the definition of ‘hurt.’ I’m talking about more subtle and accepted forms of harrassment, coercion, seduction, that apparently aren’t included in the defintion of hurt used by your’civilised man.’

  166. Pavlov's Cat

    just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean I’m not part of the patriarchy.

    We are all part of the patriarchy, Grasshopper. The patriarchy is a structure, not an alliance.

  167. Darin

    “The patriarchy is a structure, not an alliance.”

    Well, there goes my stubby holder concession…..

  168. b.lyle

    Sean, you just gave me an awesome marketing idea. A members only strip-club called ‘Patriarchy.’ All sorts of seedy guys would rush to join up, just so they could snigger and show their Partiarchy membership card!

  169. Kim

    Oh, how hilarity! Boyzone patriarchy jokes now.

    Grow up.

    Ps – and learn to spell, or the wearers of Presybterian boiler suits will disemvowel you at dawn.

  170. fuckpoliteness

    Paranoid? About what exactly. And when did I ever give the impression I thought you were anything but?

  171. Helen

    In short, until the entire world receives an indepth instruction and understanding of feminism, parents instruction to their children will seem lacking, but that doesn’t mean they they aren’t getting taught all manner of anti-rape messages.

    There is ample evidence out there that (1) parents, particularly conservative ones, are often embarassed and tongue-tied about “the talk”. Families where sexual politics get really thoroughly talked over are, I think, somewhat rare. (2) The “she asked for it” meme is still really, really flourishing. You can see it appearing in the tabloid press, in legal judgements and in multiple internet forums, some connected to the MSM, where people can comment under the cloak of anonymity.

    The notion that women are responsible for preventing rape is hardly dented. See the controversy last week in the UK over rape compensation.

  172. Helen

    Oh, and where parents are having “the talk”, the focus is often on Keeping Safe – admirable, but usually in this society still focused on the woman as the agent of rape prevention.

    Which in the end means – and this is why we get so mean and nasty when y’all trivialise it – a de facto curfew on us. No less.

  173. Kim

    until the entire world receives an indepth instruction and understanding of feminism

    Mind you, that would be nice, but I suspect there’d be a lot of screaming about re-education camps and totalitarianism and political correctness… ;)

  174. Presybterian Boiler

    All sorts of seedy guys would rush to join up, just so they could snigger and show their Partiarchy membership card!

    So since when have seedy guys ever needed to show a card in order to identify themselves? Or required permission to snigger? There already is a Partiarchy [sic] Club, and its members are recognisable on sight.

  175. b.lyle

    Families where sexual politics get really thoroughly talked over are, I think, somewhat rare.

    That’s true, in my family we didn’t discuss it at all. In fact, the only effort in that direction was to give me a single book on human reproduction, with almost no conversation or even comment on it. And it was a book written for girls. People wonder why I turned out so strange.

    The other issue is how many families, even if they had a perfect talk with their children, have a relationship that would make children accept their parents view rather than just rely on what society is telling them.

  176. b.lyle

    There already is a Partiarchy [sic] Club, and its members are recognisable on sight.

    Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean I can’t exploit them, does it? Especially if people crush their hopes by telling them it’s a structure, not an alliance. And thanks for emphasising the typo, by the way.

  177. Nick

    It was interesting reading up on Justice Clarence Thomas the other night.

    He’s happy to paint his high-publicity sexual harassment charge as “high-tech lynching” by “smooth-tongued” liberals, with no other motive besides good old-fashioned character assassination.

    But according to the LA Times he had no compunction in praising the efforts of his journalist supporters like David Brock, who described Anita Hill in print as “a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty”.

    The alleged harassment occurred while he and Anita were working for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    This confessional excerpt from Blinded By The Right: David Brock is well-worth reading.

  178. Roger Jones

    About giving boys teh message. We have to remember they are all different personalities and will display various ethical behaviours, nothwithstanding the message. My three sons all get strong messages from both parents but I know two will think hard about how to act and the other one thinks only of … well, there’s not been a lot of thinking involved, just actions and consequences. Only recently has he got into a much healthier relationship.

    The boys who think though, will take part in much more in depth conversations and think on it. The other day the middle one and I talked about codified sexual behaviours. For example, sometimes what may seemed like submissiveness in a relationship may actually be dominance. (This came out of a comment where one of his teachers announced that xxxx school was a haven for alternative sexualities!! Much to the hilarity and embarrassment of the students) And also that often consent is nothing of the sort, when there is some degree of coercion involved (social, peer – you name it). It is every person’s responsibilility to ensure that consent is informed. Sometimes yes is nothing of the sort.

    The bottom line is that it’s not so much what people do, it’s the degree of respect they have for others.

  179. Chris (a different one)

    Which in the end means – and this is why we get so mean and nasty when y’all trivialise it – a de facto curfew on us. No less.

    Getting bashed and robbed as male isn’t much fun either, and prudent men take precautions which amount to a curfew as well. I guess thats why law and order political campaigns run so well.

    I don’t think education campaigns are going to help reduce the incidence of stranger rape anymore than I think they would help reduce assault and robberies. Those people know what they’re doing is wrong, they just don’t care and don’t think they’re going to be caught.

  180. tigtog

    I don’t think education campaigns are going to help reduce the incidence of stranger rape anymore than I think they would help reduce assault and robberies. Those people know what they’re doing is wrong, they just don’t care and don’t think they’re going to be caught.

    I’d be ecstatic if alien super-technology arrived and identified those fairly rare men who stranger-rape so that they could be isolated from society, but in the meantime I’ll continue working on consciousness-raising for all those blokes who could potentially end up deciding that it’s OK to date/acquaintance-rape a vulnerable woman because they happen to be alone together and for whatever reason she’s not in a position to say “no”.

  181. Kim

    Word, tigtog.

    The rare perps of stranger rape are usually rare types – mentally ill, recidivist criminals, “abnormal”. If the far more common behaviours of date rape or unwanted sexual attentions and advances and all forms of sexual harrassment are within the spectrum of “normal” behaviour, it should in principle be much easier to change them through education and persuasion. As with any other instance of behavioural education, it’s great to start early as possible, before habits and ways of thinking become ingrained. But countering that is an enormous weight of counter-socialisation through images and representations in the public sphere which work actively to reinforce the view that the sexualisation of women is “normal” or (shudder) “natural”. And peer to peer socialisation and the examples of other adults. There’s your patriarchy. That’s why we’re concerned with all this stuff!

    Here endeth the lesson.

  182. FDB

    “But countering that is an enormous weight of counter-socialisation through images and representations in the public sphere which work actively to reinforce the view that the sexualisation of women is “normal” or (shudder) “natural”.”

    I think this kind of phrasing creates a part of the problem. It is after all, entirely natural that women are sexual – it verges on a paragon of naturalness. It’s easy to switch off to a message that seems to suggest women should not be considered as sexual beings. It’s when and how they are considered so, and what men do about it, that matters.

  183. Mark

    Nature is always mediated through culture, FDB.

    There are different cultures where the contexts for the perception of women as sexually available are much narrower than this one. In principle, at least, we can shift this one – and trying to do so even at the margins is a worthwhile endeavour.

  184. FDB

    Furious agreement here, Mark.

  185. fuckpoliteness

    It’s actually the sexualisation (or specifically the sexual objectification) of women in media that’s being discussed as an issue, not that women are sexual. To ask that media refrain from promoting women as *for* eye candy, and *for* sex above and beyond anything else, even when what they’re being photographed for is some achievement for say sporting, is not to argue that women aren’t/shouldn’t be sexual beings. On the contrary, feminists are usually arguing for the right for women to be sexual beings – and on their own terms. But quite clearly the types of sexualised images we have are leading to problems in perceptions of women and the respect owed to them.

  186. Brett

    Here are three very different styles of female track uniforms: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/19082008/5/photo/bahrain-s-roqaya-al-gassra-reacts-crosses-finish-line-women.html The athlete showing the least skin, Roqaya al-Gassra of Bahrain, won her heat of the 200 metres and qualified, I think, 4th fastest overall (it was on the teevee just now).

    [let's show everybody - administrator]

  187. Chris (a different one)

    tigtog @180 – my post was in reply to the post about modifying behaviour which amounts to curfews on women.

    Though I do wonder how effective education campaigns really will be – do men *genuinely* believe that having sex with a woman who is unconcious/drunk/drugged is ok? Or do they just use that as an excuse when they get caught? Its like saying we need an education campaign to inform people its not okay to wander into someone’s home and take what you want if they happen to leave their front door open.

  188. tigtog

    Chris #187, shifting the emphasis away from the over-hyped risk of stranger rape and onto the more realistic risk of date/acquaintance rape doesn’t cut down on the de facto curfew aspect of recommending that women prevent their own rapes. Now women have to worry about whether they will be blamed as contributing to being attacked simply for having a drink with an acquaintance who later rapes them if they have trusted him to be alone with them somewhere.

    do men *genuinely* believe that having sex with a woman who is unconcious/drunk/drugged is ok?

    I suggest that as long as police continue to mostly not press charges in such situations, and as long as juries continue to mostly not convict in the rare cases that charges are pressed, some men will believe exactly that.

  189. Catharine McKinnon

    I am delighted that wymyn have started beating the drums of the great “date rape” con once more!

    [Teh Mark of Teh Troll has been added to this comment - moderator]

  190. FDB

    Catharine McKinnon:

    Ambiguity: you have shown me it

  191. Chris (a different one)

    I suggest that as long as police continue to mostly not press charges in such situations, and as long as juries continue to mostly not convict in the rare cases that charges are pressed, some men will believe exactly that.

    Perhaps being a bit pedantic, but there’s a difference between people believing something to be right or wrong, and believing that they’ll get away with it. Juries not convicting although the law says they should does indicate a problem and perhaps education will help there, but we’ll have to wait decades for change to flow through.

  192. Presybterian Boiler #2

    John Greenfield, that would be Catherine MacKinnon.

  193. Adrien

    b.lyle

    But the statistics apparently prove otherwise, that’s why we’re having this conversation.

    I’m not sure of what statistics you speak or what they actually say. If they demonstrate an inversely proportional relationship between domestic violence and economic/educational levels well – d’uh. Money and education give you ways of dealing with frustration. The less you have the better chance violence will be your way of dealing with things.
    .
    That does not mean that a cornerstone of civility is not that men do not attack women physically. That rule taught as fundamental to well-brought up boys is important. My defintion of ‘civilized’ and ‘well brought up’ is not narrow. That’s pretty much it when it comes to boys in particular. It does work quite often y’know. Sure it’s rather pompously bourgeois but that doesn’t mean we have to be.

    …very narrow defintion of who counts as a ‘civilised man’, mostly defined by who can be safely loaded on train carriages and sent for ‘rehabilitation.’

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I’m talking about more subtle and accepted forms of harrassment, coercion, seduction, that apparently aren’t included in the defintion of hurt used by your’civilised man.’

    Do you mean guys behave like arseholes and pigs? Even if they don’t hit women physically they make their lives hell? Indeed I agree.
    .
    I always endeavour to adhere to Oscar Wilde’s maxim here: A gentleman is never rude, unintentionally. Gentleman is another one of those old fashioned notions which actually serve quite well with an update or two. For example a gentleman regards women respectfully. Time was when respect didn’t entitle women to equal shares, times have changed. Or they are changing.
    .
    Got something better than the gentleman, something that isn’t just a jargonized version of the same thing. Love to see the plan. Sha-sha doo-bee doo-yah, sha-sha doo-bee doo-yah
    .
    There’s a recent book on matters of civlity by the deliciously well-written Lucinda Holdforth – http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Books/Default.aspx?Page=Book&ID=9781741668704

    Recommended.

  194. Adrien

    I think that the realy important part of this post however is in the ‘sexualisation’ of girl’s uniforms contributing to young athletes giving up the sport. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that remembers adolesence that everyone, girls more than boys, are body shy. Why this isn’t appreciated by people who decide things like uniforms is beyond me.

  195. b.lyle

    Statistics say that violence occurs in all levels of society among people who consider themselves civilised, and who are considered civilised by others. The term civilised is basically meaningless, except as a handy way of condemning someone else. ‘Of course they’d do that; they’re not civilised like us.’

    Got something better than the gentleman, something that isn’t just a jargonized version of the same thing.

    Um, no, and I wouldn’t really want one. The idea of gentelemen has a history that I don’t think should be ignored and minimised. Being a gentleman was about class, and fitting certain external criteria. It wasn’t about how well someone treated others, it was about status, and others perception of status. I don’t think we should be encouraging boys to earn a title like ‘gentleman’ by appearing to follow rules set by Oscar Wilde or anyone else, we should just be educating them on how their behaviour can affect others in ways they don’t appreciate.

  196. tigtog

    Adrien #194:

    I think that the realy important part of this post however is in the ’sexualisation’ of girl’s uniforms contributing to young athletes giving up the sport. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that remembers adolesence that everyone, girls more than boys, are body shy. Why this isn’t appreciated by people who decide things like uniforms is beyond me.

    Thank you! That is the most important effect (regarding future participation and thus health consequences) the continuing shrinkage of elite-level uniforms for women is having, that it is turning body-shy girls off sport entirely, and way too many people are ignoring it.

    However, I’ve enjoyed the way that this thread ultimately drifted to the question of educating our children about sexual ethics. That’s another very important discussion. It’s rare that thread-drift ends up so constructively.

  197. Umm Yasmin

    Musing… how come Cathy Freeman got to choose the bodysuit and not the itty bitty skimpy uniform (or is that just ‘coz it was 8 years ago?)

  198. tigtog

    The full bodysuit is another option for our track athletes in these Olympics as well, I believe. I mentioned above that many athletes just don’t like them – they feel constricted by the hoods, and feel that they are in some ways even more revealing because of the cling.

    Edited to add: they need an option that strikes a happy medium, methinks.

    Also edited to add: Cathy Freeman wore the minishorts and tankbra combo for some of her other events in 2000. She just preferred the bodysuit for the 400m.

  199. Adrien

    Tictog

    Thank you!

    You’re most welcome. :)

    That is the most important effect (regarding future participation and thus health consequences) the continuing shrinkage of elite-level uniforms for women is having, that it is turning body-shy girls off sport entirely, and way too many people are ignoring it.

    I think this is very important as well. I have a certain experience of this myself having been turned off sport from the age of 13 for reasons of body shyness insensitivity and cultural chauvanism amongst my instructors. Some PE teachers can be unbelievably stupid when it comes to this sort of thing. Like girls age 11-16 may be very sensitive about being exposed for some reason – hello?
    .
    Boys too. A bit.

    It’s rare that thread-drift ends up so constructively.

    Well you people need to adopt a free-market approach. Over at Catallaxy a post about the debate viz capitalism v the community and the impact of property transaction fees has turned into a discussion about whether the Rolling Stones or the Beatles were cooler. Um….
    :)

  200. Adrien

    One opinion I do feel like adding.
    .
    It might be unpopular but anyway. The Herald-Sun has been featuring full colour photos of gold-winners since the shebang started. Female track and field athletes are featured bare mid-riff because that’s their outfits. I don’t find these images ‘sexual’. The ‘sexual’ portrayal of female bellies usually feautures a smooth flat but soft belly. T&F athletes are cut sharp they have very sharply defined, muscular torsos.
    .
    I tend to view these torsos as ‘powerful’ not ‘sexy’ if you understand my meaning. I’m just trying to be honest about this and am not asserting in any way that this delegitamizes Tictog’s observations.
    .
    Of course the opposition: powerful not sexy – is telling is it not? Those gazing at men may feel that these are complimentary not contradictory attributes.

  201. fuckpoliteness

    Not every image of an athlete shown with bare skin is going to be sexualised in such problematic ways.

    However there were the photos of the beach volleyball players, cropped to show the backside of a Brazilian woman. There’s the whole sniggering attitude towards women’s beach volleyball, the ‘hi five, hot chicks for us’ and the ‘get real those are not athletes’ stuff, the article about how annoying it is for men that female swimmers wear suits that give them greater speed but flatten their breasts in ‘unfeminine’ ways, the incessant comments in swimming about Rice, “face of an angel, heart of a lion” – how about achievement of a superb athlete?

    Then you have photos of the swimmers with captions such as “Gold Diggers”, “Swimming Babe”, “Just how much can Stephanie Rice Earn” etc where the manner in which the women are portrayed is either hyper sexualised, or discussed in a patronisingly gendered and infantilising way or playing into misogynist stereotypes.

    It would be great if the official commentary were to focus on the power of the women rather than calling them girls and discussing how you ‘just wanna give them a hug’ when their mum is not in the stands.

  202. Fine

    Yep. I actually enjoy seeing all the different type of bodies on display. But it’s a tricky thing. When is the representation of these bodies being sexualised and when are they being discussed/represented as powerful ‘engines’ there to do a job?

    As for headlines. I find ‘Swimming Babe’ patronising. But I don’t find ‘Gold Diggers’ or “How much can Stephanie Earn’ works in the same way. When I see ‘Gold Diggers’, I see 1930′s films about smart women living by their wits in a deeply sexist world. It’s not necessarily an insult. As for a headline about a swimmer and future earnings, isn’t that reasonable? I don’t see anything inherently sexist in it. Sometimes there are more than one reading.

  203. adrian

    On a slightly different tack, I wonder if anyone else found the headline on the front page of the SMH today somewhat offensive:

    “White Girls Can Jump: How Sally Beat The Odds”

    Since when did the colour of a ‘girl’s’ skin have even the slightest relevance?

  204. fuckpoliteness

    Granted that there is more than one reading, but within the context of the SMH continually publishing blogs which refer to women (and blatantly insultingly) as golddiggers, ie/ ‘prostituting themselves’ for flowers and dinner/an engagement ring and a big fat divorce settlement, and the popularity of this trope in MRA/PUA discussions…when they publish a picutre of four women who’ve earned gold why go to the golddigger image?

    The second picture showed Rice, with the writing “Million Dollar Water Babe – Steph’s Pot of Gold…“Just how much can Stephanie Rice earn? After a remarkable Olympics, Australia’s queen of the pool will never have trouble staying afloat”. Now granted different people will interpret that differently, but taken as a whole I thought it was condescending…and she has an entire future ahead of her, and presumably a career as a swimmer, and as whatever else she chooses to do with her life.

  205. B.lyle

    I wouldn’t argue about using terms like gold digger and babe, but in general I have heard similiar comments about how much Michael Phelps is going to earn over the next few years.

    And I don’t think the importance of cashing in on sponsorship should be underestimated for athletes. I’m sure it is at the forefront of their minds that ‘success=sponsorship’ and it’s not surprising that the press would pick up on this aspect. I saw an interesting interview with Sally McLellan where she said her mother worked two jobs to pay for her training until Adidas *ka-ching* got on board with sponsorship, and they then showed her at a sponsors event in Beijing the day after the event writing the Adidas slogan on things. Fair enough too, I can’t imagine the guilt and pressure that I’d feel if I knew someone was working to pay for training in a field where success is so elusive.

  206. Youie

    RE: adrian Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Are you forgetting or were you never aware of the 1992 film White Men Can’t Jump?

  207. fuckpoliteness

    Agreed, B.Lyle, it’s true that sponsorship is important, and that image helps, that it’s great for Stephanie Rice that she’s secured that kind of sponsorship etc and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging how much sponsorship this has opened up for her – I just can’t help feeling that there’s a tiny bit of “put your feet up babe, from here on in you can just sit around looking pretty”. Admittedly it’s a cumulative frustration compunded by the use of ‘babe’ in the same headline and hot on the heels of ‘golddigger’ – I’ve just been watching the way the dudes are discussed in terms of power, achievement, and GRR, and the women in terms of ‘babe’, ‘golddigger’, angelic faces etc.

  208. Pavlov's Cat

    Adrien @ 200 and Fuckpoliteness @ 201 — that’s the real point, isn’t it — it’s not the skin, it’s the spin. Parts of this thread have been reminding me of the Bill Henson affair and Tigtog’s (in particular) terrific posts and comments back then about the nature of a society that reads nakedness as automatically sexual.

    This discussion is relevant to the Breasts Thread as well. It reinforces the point that erotic/pornographic effects are created at the place where Gaze meets Body. I’ve always thought that the erotic and the ironic were very close together on the affect spectrum — they both exist only at the point where transmitter meets receiver.

  209. FDB

    As a keen amateur admirer of the female form, and dabbler in same-sex aesthetic admiration, I can honestly say that skin covered with tight material can be just as alluring as bare. It’s the face, the carriage and the movement that I like in my sportsfolk.

    Basically, I win either way.

  210. Pavlov's Cat

    Skin covered in less-than-tight material can sometimes be more alluring than either, if what one prefers is hint, nuance and promise …

  211. FDB

    Yeah, don’t even get me started on that PC.

  212. tigtog

    Yeah, don’t even get me started on that PC.

    It’s not going to make your head explode or anything is it?

    *experiments*

    Edited: Hmm – there was a picture here of a floating silky scarf – it’s disappeared on my browser now

  213. FDB

    Phwoar!

  214. Umm Yasmin

    Tigtog @198

    LOL that was my thought looking at Roqaya too (see Brett @ 186) re: cling.

    I have to say, my ‘burqini’ (and I had one before it was called a burqini) is more clingy than I would probably like. You should see the bemused looks at the pool when I waddle out wearing it. Being the absolutely slowest swimmer in the pool, I can see what’s going through their heads: “That bodysuit ‘aint gonna shave minutes off her slow swimming.”

  215. laura

    “Gold Diggers of 1933″ etc is my first association too Fine, on seeing the headlines, but I imagine many people think just as readily of Kanye West.

  216. Greenonetwenty

    I think any and all article saying that the olympics are overly sexualized because of slight differences between uniforms are full of dumb opinions and fallacies. In track and field for example, for sprinting, you need to be as aerodynamic as possible to reach top speed to perform. Men’s SPRINTING track suits are also tight fitting to accomplish this same goal. Just because these women have their stomachs showing doesn’t mean that all of a sudden its sexualized. These athletes have a say over what type of uniform they want to wear. If they didn’t then I’m sure they’d be doing something else. A perfect example of this is a uniform worn by a female sprinter from Bahrain. She stuck to her Muslim beliefs of modesty and wore a hooded leotard under her track suit.

    People find another subject to write about, this is soooooo dumb. Really! And guess what….. I’m female! Why not just give these athletes their praise for the great job they’ve done by representing your country; wherever you’re from. This is a serious waste of time, and I’m sure most of them think so too.

  217. tigtog

    I suspect you’ll find that the sprinter from Bahrain was adhering to uniform guidelines imposed by her national sporting body, as are all the other athletes. It is required that athletes wear the official uniforms provided by their Olympic Committees.

    It’s hardly surprising that a country with traditions that require women to cover up would supply their female athlete with a uniform that covers her up, nor is it surprising that countries where commercial interests are heavily invested in commodifying the female form end up supplying their female athletes with uniforms that display their bodies (but only in the sports that favour slender physiques).

    The problem is that talented athletes who are body-shy are being put off sport in Australia because of the requirement to wear these revealing uniforms. They are not given the choice to wear something modest, only skin-revealing or skin-tight, that is the problem.

  218. B.lyle

    I think the good people at ‘The West Australian’ deserve a special mention for the their headline on pole-vaulter Steve Hooker. “Happy Hooker soars like a bird to grab Olympic Gold.”

  219. Helen

    When I see ‘Gold Diggers’, I see 1930’s films about smart women living by their wits in a deeply sexist world.

    I think you got one consonant wrong in “wits”, Fine :-)

  220. Fine

    Very good, Helen. I think both words may apply.

  221. fuckpoliteness

    Yes, I did see many headlines to effect of “Aussie Hooker wins gold”.

    Greenonetwenty: *People find another subject to write about, this is soooooo dumb. Really! And guess what….. I’m female!*

    Ah well, case closed then.