Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Does this trophy make my butt look big?

When even the Fox network says you lack gender and racial sensitivity, chances are you've really acted like an a**hole. So it was with the United States Tennis Association last week when the Wall Street Journal broke the story of it's refusal to fund 16-year-old Junior Australian Open winner Taylor Townsend at the US Open. Their reason, she's too fat. Ahem, "Our concern is her long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player," said Patrick McEnroe of the USTA.

This story has gotten a lot of media coverage. Here's a link to an interview the Ms. Townsend did with ABC's Good Morning America. And, yes, the USTA backed down and restored funding for the player ranked top in the world to play in her sport. But . . .

Let's do a thought experiment. Let's say that the USTA really did have Townsend's best interests at heart when they told her to slim down before she played publicly. Maybe what they really meant was something like, "If you want to maximize your endorsement deals, being the best isn't enough. You're a woman, and you have to be beautiful enough to make men want to watch you play your sport."

Because this woman has won 43 professional titles.
And this woman has won 16.
 
Guess who makes a lot more money?

Damn. Am I asking too much for someone to judge my daughter on how well she plays, not on whether she looks like a northern European underwear model?

Toward that end, I am sending $5 to Grrrl Camp, a non-profit summer camp that promotes positive body image for girls through athletics.
GRRRL Camp empowers girls to realize their full potential through sports, dance, self-defense, health education, and social justice education. The camp facilitates the creation of a network of powerful girls who are self-confident and support each other in a world which, even while giving them equality under law, has a ways to go in its attitudes towards girls, their worth, and their abilities. Our participants inspire each other to fight beauty standards, attitudes, and assumptions the media has set up.

Sign me up!

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