The night was about celebrating talented, strong, ambitious women.
Women who are too often sexualised. Women who have worked bloody hard to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Women whose sponsorship deals and media coverage often pale in comparison to that of their penis-possessing counterparts.
Yep, Women’s Health’s “I Support Women in Sport” awards on Monday night in Sydney was an important, even monumental event for Australia’s female athletes – and the magazine should be applauded for hosting it this year and every year.
But disappointingly – and downright bizarrely – the night was marred by one face-palm worthy addition.
As Fairfax Media reports, three near-nude women wearing briefs and body paint posed on the red carpet on Monday night alongside the real athletes.
The models were painted to resemble a gymnast, a swimmer and a netballer. Their nipples were clearly visible. Their presence could have been a clever stunt to highlight the sexualisation of women in sport — but sadly, it wasn’t. The models’ presence served no purpose, it seems, except a decorative one.
Image via Getty
Understandably, the move is under fire this morning from all directions.
“I’m amazed that a female editor would think that this is a good idea,” journalist Lisa Wilkinson remarked on the Today show this morning.
“There are so many strong, talented and beautiful women in sport who work hard to get the recognition they deserve which is why I think these models take away from the main message of the event,” Amy Stevenson wrote for The Daily Telegraph.
“Insanely irrelevant. Why does a woman’s success need to be sexualised,” Rhi Stewart posted on Facebook.
Women’s Health editor Felicity Harley hasn’t yet responded to Mamamia’s request for comment, but wrote in a written statement to Fairfax Media: “It is disappointing that this has become the focus rather than the phenomenal sporting talents of our Australian female athletes”.
Take a look at some of the sportswomen on the red carpet here. Post continues below:
Precisely our point: the event’s focus should absolutely have been on the sportswomen — which is why the painted nipples of three professional near-naked models was an unnecessary addition.
Congratulations to Sally Pearson, who took out the Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year award, as well as all the other winners.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year — Sally Pearson, Hurdles
Prime Minister’s Outstanding Women In Sport Award — Jessica Fox, Canoeing
Person of SportingWords — Mel McLaughlin, Fox Sports and Network 10
One to Watch — Emma McKeon, Swimming
Service to the Sport — Catherine Cox, Netball
Fair Fighter — Jordan Mercer, Ironwoman
Local Heroine — Katie Williams, Surf Life Saving
Leadership Legend — Laura Geitz, Netball
A-Team of the Year — The Australian Netball Diamonds, Netball
Moment of the Year — Women’s 4x100m swimming relay team, Commonwealth Games World Record