Female Athletes in Skimpy Skirts Won't Sell Tickets to the Olympics

Jeanne Sager

badmintonHere I thought the worst badminton got for the girls were the teenage boys' jokes when the gym teachers brought out the shuttlecocks in high school. I was wrong. The sport reached a new low for women when the Badminton World Federation (for reals) announced a "skirt rule" last month, that was intended to make all its female players "more attractive" in the run up to the Olympics in 2012.

Really. They said that. OK, technically they said it was to create a more “attractive presentation." Said one rep from the federation:

We just want them to look feminine and have a nice presentation so women will be more popular.

To-may-to. To-mah-to. Sexism. Misogyny. The rule is officially out this week, thanks to a NEW announcement from the humbled federation. Can we get a thank GOODNESS?

Apparently ratings were a-dropping, so they wanted to sex things up a bit, leading to the inevitable, let's make 'em look purdy. It was to go into effect today, but the BWF suddenly stopped it.

Here's the thing, oh BWF. The ladies who play the sport are there to do exactly that. Play. Not sell the game.

A dress code is one thing. Players need to wear clothing that's safe -- nothing that will, say, be at risk for getting caught up in the racquet. They need clothing that won't distract from the game -- if Elton John would wear it, it's probably not appropriate on the court. And if we're talking team sports, matching is kind of a no-brainer. But that, dear people of the Badminton World Federation, is where it ends. Their uniform is supposed to be ABOUT the sport itself, not about the promotion of the sport for the Olympic games.

Take the bikinis you see on those volleyball players. They're made for getting the sand out of them. Or the tennis skirts? Those are for movement. The ladies who play badminton say they're able to move in what they currently wear, so that should be enough. 

The BWF was right to back off, but I give them credit for the stunt. It made us pay attention to badminton, didn't it?

Do you think this was sexist?


Image via Dee'lite/Flickr

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