By NATALIA HAWK
When the video was first uploaded to Youtube a few weeks ago, I was very quick to click on it.
My first reaction was: Why did I just spend two minutes of my life essentially staring at another girl’s butt when I was supposed to be watching a video about a surfing event?
My second reaction was: WHERE IS THE SURFING?
Because, believe it or not, that wasn’t an ad for hair removal cream or a lingerie brand. It was a promo for Roxy Pro Biarritz, a surfing contest for professional female surfers run by women’s fashion and surfing brand, Roxy.
Roxy Pro has been running every year for the last eight years and brings together top women surfers from around the world in the surfing capital of Europe.
I love Roxy. Love the promotion they do for women’s surfing all around the world, love the events they sponsor and support – not only for surfing but also for snowboarding.
But I hated their promo video. HATED it.
And women everywhere are – understandably – reacting the same way. Roxy is being slammed for unnecessarily sexualising women’s sport, for making something that’s supposed to be about professional athletes into soft porn.
The woman whose face you hardly get to see is Stephanie Gilmore. A phenomenal sporting champion and an outstanding role model for young women.
Yes, Stephanie Gilmore also happens to be hot. We get the freaking picture. But we can get that without the music, lighting and close ups of her well-waxed legs.
JUST SHOW US SOME SURFING ALREADY.
Some will no doubt jump to the defence of the video, trying to say that hey – at least there IS a women’s surfing event to promote. At least there are female professional athletes to feature in the video.
And I admit that, not so long ago, there were no women’s surfing events at all. Up until the 1970s, there were so few female surfers that they had to compete in men’s events.
So it’s fabulous that professional female surfers now even have the opportunity to participate against other seriously talented females.
And I really appreciate what Roxy does for women’s sport in general. I own several of the pieces from their Outdoor Fitness range. They are great.
But I want female athletes to be able to have their cake and eat it too. I don’t just want them to be able to play sport and play it well – I want them to get as much money and as much coverage and kudos as male athletes. And I want that to happen regardless of how they look.