Olympics Smelled Like Sexism

Olympics+Smelled+Like+Sexism

Alexsenia Ralat, Arts Editor

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the sexist crap storm that hit the Olympics this year. From the headlines that told audiences that the wife of a lesser known football player had won gold to the obvious differences between photographs taken by female vs. male photographers. Honestly, I am so sick and tired of the obvious sexism that the media tends to either ignore and/or promote.

If you are going to tell your audiences that a woman won gold in the Olympics, state her name. Maybe you could mention that her husband is a football player, but don’t make that your headline. Marrying him wasn’t her big accomplishment, winning gold was. So don’t make it sound like her biggest achievement was her famous football player husband. Did media outlets write such sexist headlines like that for any of the male winners that happened to be married to popular and or famous men/women? No! Okay, there you go.

Now let’s move on to the sexism shown in the photos taken by different media outlets. Photographers Lucy Nicholson and Antonio Lacerda were both tasked by their respective media outlets to take pictures of the Egypt vs Germany women’s volleyball game. The first ever volleyball game in which Egyptian women have ever competed in, mind you. Nicholson’s photo shows two women, German player Kira Walkenhorst and Egyptian player Doaa El-Ghobashy in an action shot. The shot seems to have been taken from afar and it showcases both of the women’s power. Lacerda’s shot, on the other hand, is a close-up of El-Ghobashy focusing on Walkenhorst. Which would be all fine and dandy, if the shot didn’t also include a close-up of Walkenhorst’s bikini-clad back-side. Don’t get me wrong, both of the photos are pretty powerful photos. However, in Nicholson’s you can see the raw power of the two women. In Lacerda’s you can see the determination in El-Ghobashy’s face as she stares Walkenhorst down; that is if you can get past the objectification of Walkenhorst’s posterior.

Hypothetically speaking, how would you feel if someone else got the credit for your accomplishments? You did the work, you put in the time, you poured your heart and soul into it and everyone congratulated someone else for your success. It’d suck right? Everyone wants credit for their success. So why is it that instead of giving credit to Katinka Hosszú for breaking the world record in the 100-meter individual medley, an NBC commentator gave the credit to her husband. He said that her husband, who was also her coach, was “the person responsible for her performance.” What? I’m sorry. I must not have noticed him in the water pushing her to victory. I mean seriously, she did it, she was the one in the water, swimming. Sure, he coached her, and that’s an accomplishment in itself, but he did not control her and swim for her.

There are multiple instances of sexism happening in the media during the Olympics. For example, you have commentators putting men on a pedestal like the commentator did with Hasszú’s husband, and then you have commentators blatantly making fun of women. More specifically one BBC commentator did this exact thing while commentating a women’s judo match.This BBC commentator said “I was bored when I thought this was a serious event between two athletes, but it’s good now I know it’s a catfight.” He basically said that a fight between two of the world’s best female fighters was boring to him. It wasn’t as “hardcore” as the male fights. These women are Olympians and a man who probably could not even do a handstand decides to disrespect and undermine their abilities. Seriously? Sir, I’d be a little more careful when talking about two women who could easily kill you.

All I wanted was to watch women kick butt this year and what I got was people ignoring their athletic prowess in favor of focusing on them being women. Thanks 2016, you truly are becoming my least favorite year that I’ve lived through.