By NATALIA HAWK
It’s the oldest advertising adage out there: sex sells. People sit up and pay attention when they see a sexy ad, whether it’s the Old Spice guy or just a bunch of girls dancing around in their Bonds undies.
And ever since it became socially acceptable for one to remove their clothes and pose on a billboard, we’ve seen more and more incidences of athletes taking advantage of their good looks and toned bodies to star in campaigns or boost their popularity – both on an international and on a national level.
This is especially true for female athletes. After all, in an industry where gaining sponsorships is notoriously difficult – especially if you want to earn enough to support yourself – it almost makes sense to show off the body into which you’ve invested so much time and energy.
And for those who are considered especially aesthetically pleasing, it’s occasionally resulted in really prominent placement in the media, despite smaller incidences of success on the actual sporting field. This is especially true in America – blonde, busty figure skaters and NASCAR drivers have become well-recognised names, regardless of the fact that they haven’t placed very high up at all on the scoreboard.
Don’t believe me? Think about the recent examples we’ve seen. For example – the promo for Roxy Pro Biarritz, a surfing contest for professional female surfers that featured zero surfing and a whole lot of close-up shots of Stephanie Gilmore’s bum:
Or Ellyse Perry, the 22-year-old Aussie athlete who plays on the national teams for women’s soccer AND cricket. She’s been named Australia’s most marketable athlete and she’s also an ambassador for underwear brand Jockey Australia:
How about the many, many other female athletes who, over the years, have taken it off for sponsorships or magazine covers or magazine spreads :
But here’s the thing.
New research has been released and it could very well change everything for female athletes in the near future. ESPN has written an article based on their film “Branded”, which asked the very question of sex appeal, and whether it’ll always supersede achievement.