Can you believe Gulf News published a list on the ‘Hottest women in Tennis’? Yes, okay; of course you can. But wait till you read the comments on each of the woman listed.
February 15, 2011 8:35 by kippreport
“The lovely long-legged Argentine Gisela Dulko is a tad more than a fine pair of pins having become the world’s No 1 ranked doubles player in November last year. … Sport critics say she’s now the one to watch, both on and off court.”
No, that wasn’t from a 1930’s beauty pageant or movie script for that matter. No, it wasn’t even from a satirical magazine – that little extract was taken from a feature titled “Hottest women in tennis” on Gulf News’ homepage. An insulting little feature that seeks to objectify female tennis players, and by and large succeeds.
Take for instance their description of “Gorgeous Serbian Ana Ivanovic” as this “decade’s knee-weakener for the men.” Or how about what they have to say about Elena Dementieva: “A chick who plays tennis at a world-class level would be good enough for most but anyone after an adrenaline junkie then Russian Elena Dementieva is the girl for you. Dementieva enjoys snowboarding, baseball, reading and travelling and always likes to keep busy.”
Hold on just a second there, since when did mainstream media think it OK to use terms like ‘chick’ to describe professional tennis players? And how about “is the girl for you” – what exactly are they on about? We’re pretty sure Ana Ivanovic is not interested in the type of person reading this article, and yes, we include Kipp in that.
But perhaps the most thoughtless comment comes for long time tennis pro Serena Williams. Gulf News says “Former world No 1 Serena Williams may be a controversial choice for this list, but nobody can argue she isn’t ‘all’ woman. All 5ft 10 inches of her. And let’s face it — she could probably kill us with those thighs if she fancied taking offence she was missed off the list.” Why is the all in ‘all’ woman, in quotations? ‘Kill you with those thighs.’ Kipp isn’t even going to dignify that.
Now Kipp has been a reader of the local press for some time, so we aren’t too shocked that this managed to get through. But the question is, should it have? Is it acceptable that in the 21st century mainstream media outlets happily treat professional athletes as participants in some sort of ‘hot or not’?