By JAMILA RIZVI
Last Wednesday, I spent the evening talking about feminism with a lingerie footballer. (As you do).
And by the end of the night something very strange happened: I started to forget what my opinion was.
Let me take you back to the beginning. The wonderful folk at Triple J‘s afternoon news and current affairs program Hack, gave me a buzz. They wanted to know if I’d come into the studio and talk about the media’s coverage of women’s sport.
Mamamia recently launched its own dedicated women’s sport coverage, Sport on Saturdays, so I thought it was a good opportunity to do some spruiking and have a bit of debate.
I assumed that I’d be arguing my case against some sports obsessed bogan bloke who was shitty that Serena Williams earns just as much prize money for winning the Australian Open as Roger Federer when she ‘only plays three sets’.
Boy, was I wrong.
In the Triple J reception, I was met by what can only be described as the most formidably impressive looking women ever to have walked the planet. Tall, glowing, broad shouldered, large breasted, smiley, naturally tanned and unbelievably toned and muscular; it was as if an all-female Amazonian tribe had somehow got lost in the Sydney CBD and ended up at the ABC’s Ultimo studio asking for directions.
And I’m not exaggerating for creative effect here. They really do wear underwear: actual push up bras, complete with bows and lace and frills on the panties. They wear this.
….. To play sport.
My general attitude to lingerie football is not a positive one.
I think sport should be about achievement, not aesthetics. I think the costumes the players wear (let’s not be so oblique as to call them uniforms) are objectifying and demeaning. The lingerie makes the athletic abilities of the players a sideline affair compared to how the players look. Lingerie football makes joke of women’s sport more generally and does little to advance the cause of women’s sport being taken seriously by the media, the industry and the public.
I said as much on the air. You can listen in to my chat with Hack’s Tom Tilley and lingerie footballer Brooklyn, here:
But by the end of the interview, I was a little confused. I started questioning my own opinion.
Lingerie footballer, Brooklyn spoke eloquently about how the league has changed her life. She’s lighter, fitter, stronger and healthier than she used to be. Playing her sport has also meant that she has developed life long friends, gained new leadership skills and become an incredibly determined individual.
So much of this is exactly what I love about sport. The competition, the team work, the win-together/lose-together spirit. Why in the world had I just spent half an hour on the radio ripping into this woman for participating in something that obviously makes her so happy?