Source: New Sports Illustrated nude spread: the same old sexism repacked as empowerment

Growing up as a female athlete, I always dreaded when the bikini issues of Sports Illustrated came out on shelves. This was back when there were all these little bookstores in malls, so it was often unavoidable. The message was and is clear: men are the athletes to be taken seriously, while women are just there for men’s pleasures.

This of course diminished me as an athlete and as a woman. I remember feeling completely frustrated about how little respect I as a female was being afforded in this society. This was a kind of disjointed reality in which you feel strong as a woman and athlete, but then realize the rest of society thinks the opposite, and at times outright mocks you.

We have come a long way in women’s sports since I was a child, but if we are to be truly revolutionary we need to get rid of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue just as we got rid of the Gird Girls.

I don’t believe this will happen anytime soon. There is too much money to be made, and too many men will demand that their entertainment is more important than women living in a society that takes them seriously – particularly, in this case, as athletes. These men will not care how seeing such objectification harms women, especially given how it is all being sold as “empowerment.” And women, including the models, have now utterly and completely confused attention and money with actual empowerment.

The thing is, many men like this sexual privilege, including leftist men, and seem to believe the world will end if society is not built around their sexual desires. Such men – and many women – have also conflated objectification with sex and seem to be completely unable to imagine sex without objectification – which is why so many get so offended when feminists criticize their stripper heels and pole-dance classes as anti-feminist. Furthermore, objectification of women is accepted as part of the evolutionary history of humans, specifically men, with my favorite claims being that men are more “visual” than women and thus are more wired to be turned on by photos of women who are NOT their significant other, and by watching people have sex. In order to explain the lack of woman objectifying men to the extent women are objectified, sexists simply claim that women did not evolve to be visually aroused in the same way as men – that men and women are wired completely differently sexually. Thus objectification of women is the norm, backed by evolution, and we shouldn’t expect women to ever objectify men in the same way cause it just isn’t in their wiring. Apparently, what gets women going is not what they can see with their actual eyes, but romance and rainbows and wedding rings.

Which makes it a wonder that humans reproduced before the 19th century – or that humans reproduce at all, given how supposedly different men and women’s sexual desires are. The vast majority of human history involves no photos, no mediums for porn, and many societies did not even have art work that shows a woman’s body any where close to a modern approximation – or even that of the Roman Empire (i.e. Pompeii). Early on in evolutionary history, did men just go to other people’s caves and watch them have sex before they could be turned on? Yeah I don’t think so. I can’t think of one “hunter and gathering society,” the societies considered closest to human society before technology, where this would be considered okay. So when men like the lead of Moby say porn is natural because men are wired to be turned on by watching other people have sex, I am trying to figure out when they believe the this evolutionary hard wiring of men began (no, I am not going to look for this link – but trust me I read this). When camcorders were invented?

Which bring me back to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Enough of this already. The only purpose it serves is to uphold male sexual privilege and, in doing so, destroy the self-worth and self-esteem of women.