By Alle McMahon
A controversial interview with Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard at this year’s Australian Open has formed a central part of a new online campaign calling for equal media treatment for female athletes.
After wrapping up a win against the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens in the second round of this year’s Open, Tennis Australia commentator Ian Cohen asked Bouchard to spin around for the camera and show off her clothes.
“Could you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?” Cohen asked.
While the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up may have obliged, the interview sparked widespread criticism, with many taking to social media to express their disapproval using the hashtag #twirlgate.
Now, the interview is making a resurgence on social media as a key part of the #CoverTheAthlete campaign, which aims to level the playing field when it comes to media coverage of women in sport.
“Sexist commentary, inappropriate interview questions, and articles commenting on physical appearance not only trivialise a woman’s accomplishments, but also send a message that a woman’s value is based on her looks, not her ability — and it’s much too commonplace,” the campaign’s website states.
“It’s time to demand media coverage that focuses on the athlete and her performance, not her hair, clothes or body.”
To accompany its message, the campaign has released a video parodying the types questions that female athletes are often asked at sporting press conferences.