Sex(y|ist) skier

Again with the complaints from the politically correct. This time it’s a Sports Illustrated cover.

20100209_vonn

Pictured is Lindsey Vonn. She’s an alpine skier competing in the Vancouver Olympic Games for the United States. All I’ve read seems to indicate that she’s wicked good. But that’s not what this is about.

The kerfuffle is about the cover photo itself. Some are outraged at the sexist nature of the photo. How is it sexist? You’re going to have to ask them, because I don’t see it.

The Hollywood Gossip says:

Vonn’s pose is creating a stir. It’s not difficult to see why.

The question at stake is a common refrain when female athletes are depicted in a sexual manner: Is this objectifying them, or celebrating them?

It’s not difficult to see why? She’s a downhill skier. Downhill skiers minimize their frontal area in an effort to reduce wind resistance so they go faster. The best way to do this is the skier’s tuck position. If the photo depicts Vonn, in her tuck, in a sexual manner, skiing itself depicts all its participants in a sexual manner and the ‘stir’ shouldn’t be limited to just this cover photo.

Down with skiing. It’s so objectifying! And the cello too. You have to hold it between your legs and that’s so dirty!

What caught me off guard is that when I see an attractive woman posed in a sexual manner, I notice. Boy do I notice! You don’t want to know the kinds of things that go through my mind. But when I saw this photo, anything sexual was far down the list of my thoughts. To complain about this image being overtly sexual, it seems to me, reveals far more about those who complain than anything about the image itself.

Goodness, if you see a skier in a tuck and the first think you think of is how you (or someone else) could bang her from behind, the cover photo should be the least of your worries. Remind me not to tie my shoes while I’m anywhere near you.

And as usual, the outraged don’t even read the magazine. Vonn appears in the swimsuit issue, and I’ve heard no outrage about that. If you’re hell-bent on being offended at people being objectified, you’d think that swimsuit photos would offer a path of less resistance.


Hat tip to Don, who told me about this story. The magazine cover is © 2010 Time Inc.

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