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What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?
August 3, 2012 1:12 PM   Subscribe

What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?
posted by bq (171 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
It would be alright if they shaved their legs.
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2012


What's wrong with being sexy?
posted by ColdChef at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, sexIST. Gotcha.
posted by ColdChef at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Based on the back and forth on facebook among my gay friends, this is actually pretty spot on where men's swimming is concerned.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is what my Tumblr looks like.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


And the DIVING. Don't forget the men's DIVING.
posted by jillithd at 1:17 PM on August 3, 2012


As a straight guy, I actually found most of the male shots pretty interesting - particularly the one of the hurdler. The straight crotch shots weren't particularly appealing nor the ones of the guys in shorts.
posted by nolnacs at 1:17 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is to say: the objectification of bodily perfection during the Olympics started around, oh, 776 BCE or so.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:18 PM on August 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that there is a lot of this going on, it's just the volleyball is the only sport where the media is doing it rather than, ahem, "fans."
posted by asnider at 1:18 PM on August 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


What's wrong with being sexy?

It's like, how much more ass could there be?

...and the answer is none. None more ass.
posted by griphus at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2012 [45 favorites]


To be fair, in either volleyball signals are normally flashed behind the ass, so there's actually a reason for a camera to linger there.

Maybe not quite so close, as Major League catchers would probably agree.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2012


Just wait until you see the promo posters for Volleyball: The Movie.
posted by Pistache at 1:21 PM on August 3, 2012


Hint: they practically already are anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:22 PM on August 3, 2012


Was it here that I saw a much discussed video of a female (teen girl?) sprinter who exhibited much joie de vivre during warmups. Ain't just volleyball.
posted by k5.user at 1:24 PM on August 3, 2012


We'd call it the schlong jump, shot butt and we'd invent the six event men and women's sexathlon.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:25 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have only seen a few minutes of the Olympics but it is striking how the commentators almost never fair to mention how sexy or half-naked the women's volleyball teams are.

Is this sexism or an odd homage to Alan Partridge?
posted by munchingzombie at 1:26 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Previously here and here.
posted by gilrain at 1:26 PM on August 3, 2012


None of those pictures look "gross" to me.
posted by melissam at 1:28 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is to say: the objectification of bodily perfection during the Olympics started around, oh, 776 BCE or so.
Every fourth year there is woven for Hera a robe by the Sixteen women, and the same also hold games called Heraea. The games consist of foot-races for maidens. These are not all of the same age. The first to run are the youngest; after them come the next in age, and the last to run are the oldest of the maidens. They run in the following way: their hair hangs down, a tunic reaches to a little above the knee, and they bare the right shoulder as far as the breast. These too have the Olympic stadium reserved for their games, but the course of the stadium is shortened for them by about one-sixth of its length. …
Pausanias does not seem to mention what the men wore.
posted by zamboni at 1:28 PM on August 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


Based on the back and forth on facebook among my gay friends, this is actually pretty spot on where men's swimming is concerned.

Based on the photos I've seen, we're talking about some pretty big spots. As it were.

Was it here that I saw a much discussed video of a female (teen girl?) sprinter who exhibited much joie de vivre during warmups. Ain't just volleyball.

You are thinking of Michelle Jenneke, though I don't think the video made it here.
posted by Forktine at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


No change to wrestling, I see.

/I kid because I love. Also, NoScript really demolished that page, had to turn it off.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The first to run are the youngest; after them come the next in age, and the last to run are the oldest of the maidens.

"The Amazonians will be divided into three groups. The one called Zapp will be snu-snued by the large women. He that is designated Fry will be snu-snued by the petite women. And Kif, as the most attractive male, will be snu-snued by the most beautiful women of Amazonia, then the large women, then the petite women, then the large women again."
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


> Just wait until you see the promo posters for Volleyball: The Movie.

Why wait?
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 1:32 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Pausanias does not seem to mention what the men wore."

In the Ancient Olympics the men competed in total nudity, covered only in olive oil and sweat.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 1:32 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have to say that volleyball is pretty much my favorite sport to watch (and is the only one I'm semi-decent at playing) but whenever I tell people this they always arch their eyebrows and say 'I wonder why.'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2012


In the Ancient Olympics the men competed in total nudity, covered only in olive oil and sweat.

Somehow, my brain inserted "Olive Garden" into that sentence and my concept of midwestern dining culture changed forever.
posted by verb at 1:34 PM on August 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


my brain inserted "Olive Garden" into that sentence

I found it also worked if I swapped "the Ancient Olympics" for "my apartment"
posted by Greg Nog at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2012 [29 favorites]


Me: I love watching swimming, those people are, like, superhuman.
Guy friend: Oh you know you just like to ogle the buff guys in their speedos.
Me: ... Well, yes, of course. I'm only human, after all.
posted by lunasol at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2012


This is great, except that according to this "every Olympic sport", there are apparently no women's events in the Olympics (other than the Volleyball)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

Proportionately more ad impressions.
posted by carsonb at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2012


Wait, so women's beach volleyball isn't where they send indoor-volleyball players who got their faces knocked off in tragic spiking accidents? I just figured that they didn't actually have faces and the cameramen were bravely keeping us from having to see their disfigurement.
posted by Etrigan at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sports are either an analogue for a nation's ability to fight or an individual's desirability as a mate.

I'd rather the Olympics be about sexy sex than fighty fight.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


I am now picturing a bunch of drenched, shirtless oil wrestlers trying to have a quiet meal at the Olive Garden.
posted by griphus at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if Classical red figure pottery were photographed like women's beach volleyball?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm thinking, "oh, christ - finally" is not the reaction I was meant to have.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Anyway, I find the extreme closeup of gymnasts' faces to get some emotional pr0n far more exploitative than shots of toned ass cheeks peeking out of bikini bottoms.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:39 PM on August 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


(Also, I just noticed the genteel crowd of spectators excitedly watching two oil-covered musclemen hair's-breadth-short-of-fucking for their entertainment.)
posted by griphus at 1:40 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if Classical red figure pottery were photographed like women's beach volleyball?

I admit, I photograph most amphorae lovingly from the neck down, and there are some kylices that, ahem, reveal even more than the bikinis...
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's a lot of sweaty ball sack.
posted by ColdChef at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2012


Yes let's all remember that sports where men touch each other are primarily practiced for the amusement gotten from making homoerotic jokes and ignoring the actual athletic competition.
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:44 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's a lot of sweaty ball sack.

Nothing wrong with that.
posted by Kurichina at 1:45 PM on August 3, 2012


It would be alright if they shaved their legs.

This wouldn't be a problem with cyclists.
posted by The Michael The at 1:46 PM on August 3, 2012


I'd rather the Olympics be about sexy sex than fighty fight.

I'd be interested in seeing the time trials, marathon, team events, and the Greek Pentahlon.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:47 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just wait until you see the promo posters for Volleyball: The Movie.
posted by Pistache


Here you go.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:47 PM on August 3, 2012


I'm pretty sure that there is a lot of this going on, it's just the volleyball is the only sport where the media is doing it rather than, ahem, "fans."

Yeah, exactly.

This makes me want to cry. Actually, a lot of the media coverage of women's Olympic sports has made me want to cry. This world can end itself.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:48 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christ, what asses!
posted by chavenet at 1:49 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, no more picturing of anything at the Olive Garden, puhleease. It's-a insult-a to may Italian-o heritage-o....
posted by Skygazer at 1:49 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beach Volleyball is one of the sports where there is a limit on how much the uniform can cover, because not being in constant danger of falling out of your uniform would be an unfair advantage.
posted by ckape at 1:49 PM on August 3, 2012


Yes let's all remember that sports where men touch each other are primarily practiced for the amusement gotten from making homoerotic jokes and ignoring the actual athletic competition.

To be fair, it doesn't take watching sports to make me talk homoeroticism
posted by Greg Nog at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Greg Nog how do you feel about the European debt crisis?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:55 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well then what the hell do I have to do?
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2012


I'm not sure why we can't simultaneously hold the opinion that oil wrestling is both a contest of some serious agility, skill and strength, requiring dedication and training and that it requires a suspension of disbelief on a level I find unimaginable to think that the erotic undertones of it are just completely incidental.
posted by griphus at 1:58 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog how do you feel about the European debt crisis?

Well, ultimately it's a HARD SUBJECT to talk about, but if you don't mind me WAXING philosophical, I'd say that we're in for a LONG HARD look at its MEMBERS and also TAUT GREEK BUTTS
posted by Greg Nog at 1:58 PM on August 3, 2012 [35 favorites]


Dammit I was really hoping you'd say something homoerotic.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:59 PM on August 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'd rather the Olympics be about sexy sex than fighty fight.

Judging by the number of condoms the Olympic Village goes through, the athletes agree with you.
posted by yasaman at 2:00 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh oh, is my fetish for women's figure skating and gymnastics soon to be exposed?
posted by Chuffy at 2:02 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if every Olympic sport was depicted like yakusha-e describing kabuki actors from the 1780s?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:05 PM on August 3, 2012


you were just supposed to think that, Chuffy
posted by clockzero at 2:06 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am now picturing a bunch of drenched, shirtless oil wrestlers trying to have a quiet meal at the Olive Garden.

I'll be in my bunk.

With some olive oil.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:07 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You Philipides! You brung-a-dese!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:09 PM on August 3, 2012


Anyway, I find the extreme closeup of gymnasts' faces to get some emotional pr0n far more exploitative than shots of toned ass cheeks peeking out of bikini bottoms.

You can tell a whole lot about how the match is going by how tightly those cheeks are clenched. In other words, the ass shots allow us to combine emotional pr0n with actual pr0n.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2012


Greg Nog, how do you feel?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2012


You know what? If men were photographed that way, I might give a shit about the Olympics.
posted by sonascope at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

I can get behind that.
posted by Mojojojo at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2012


I'm sorry, but Liliana Fernandez Steiner (probably NSFW) has like the most amazing booty ever. Are we, as a species, wrong to celebrate this fact?

I think not.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:14 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fister Roboto: Are we, as a species, wrong to celebrate this fact?

In far excess of celebrating her ability as an athlete? I think so, yeah.
posted by gilrain at 2:17 PM on August 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


Cyclopsis Raptor: ""Pausanias does not seem to mention what the men wore."

In the Ancient Olympics the men competed in total nudity, covered only in olive oil and sweat.
"

This is actually how I make sauce on Sunday.
posted by Splunge at 2:20 PM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is that true though? I think she's amazingly pretty, but I respect the fact I could never compete athletically at a level she does.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:20 PM on August 3, 2012


Fister Roboto: Is that true though?

You didn't pop into the thread to mention her athleticism, did you?
posted by gilrain at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


Beach Volleyball is one of the sports where there is a limit on how much the uniform can cover, because not being in constant danger of falling out of your uniform would be an unfair advantage.

I read an article someplace online about how beach volleyball had to be played in bikini because the sand! It chafes!

Then I saw that men's beach volleyball can be played in shorts and jerseys. I guess men are just tougher about things like being chafed, is all.
posted by gauche at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2012


I saw several women's matches where they're wearing body suits (since I suppose it was chilly in the evening).
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on August 3, 2012


I've got to say that I don't find any of these photos "kind of gross".
posted by surenoproblem at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2012


'Kind of gross' refers to the behavior of reducing amazingly athletically capable women to asses for us to leer at.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:31 PM on August 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


On the other hand, consider this picture of Mary Lou Retton.

I forgot what my point was.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:45 PM on August 3, 2012


Maaaarge....I've been watching women's voooolleybaaaall!
posted by DU at 2:45 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Was it here that I saw a much discussed video of a female (teen girl?) sprinter who exhibited much joie de vivre during warmups.

Best part about that video is when she trounced the competition.
posted by LordSludge at 2:46 PM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would be fine seeing only the asses and never the faces of the athletes. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
posted by heyho at 2:50 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every time I show up nude at the Olive Garden, they call the police.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:55 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


The link said all Olympic sports, but seems to focus exclusively on men's sports, aside from the beach volleyball of course.
posted by wierdo at 3:00 PM on August 3, 2012


The link said all Olympic sports, but seems to focus exclusively on men's sports, aside from the beach volleyball of course.

Because the point is the gross objectification of women.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:01 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


In far excess of celebrating her ability as an athlete? I think so, yeah.

Ah but, clearly this human being is so much more than just an athlete, too. How about her mathematical skills or science knowledge? Her impeccable manners? The way she loves friends and family? How much she gives to charity? I think the Olympics should cover this sort of stuff instead. Show more of her curling up with a good book and a chai - the real person inside - and less of the objectifying her as a mere hitter of volleyballs.
posted by scrowdid at 3:04 PM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've got to say that I don't find any of these photos "kind of gross".

I'm kind of of two minds about the whole thing. Like, these are people at the height of their physical prowess and the human body, especially but not exclusively in this condition, is a thing that is attractive to humans on a lot of levels, not all of them sexual or objectifying. And with athletes, it is their very physicality that makes them notable. That is something that is powerful about them.

As well, they are there because they want to be there. They worked hard to be there and they know the score wrt photographs and the press. So it's not like some ordinary woman who just needs to get groceries and didn't ask to have her picture taken by some creeper.

Not only that, but the pictures are of legitimate non-objectifying, non-prurient interest. This is what it looks like to break a record. This is the look on someone's face while they do something that has never been done. This is what their body is doing. This is the worried confidence of a gymnast before doing her routine. This is the taut agony of the hurdler who knows he did it better in practice. There is drama and beauty in all of these things and so many more, and it is okay to show them in photographs.

On the other hand, editors are selecting these photos for clicks and page views, and they know what side their bread is buttered on. It is no mistake that the generic clip-art office worker on the website (any website) is an attractive young woman. It is no mistake that newspapers and blogs will run art of an attractive young woman if the art is even tangentially related. It's no mistake huffpo has a sideboob section. We are comfortable, as a society, using the sexuality of women for commercial gain.

As a straight guy, it does not even occur to me to wonder why there isn't a male version of Hooters. (Shlongs?) I don't eat there, I find it a distasteful concept, but not, sadly, a weird one. Of course there's a Hooters. Men want something to look at while they eat. (It is always something, never someone.)

So of course there will be pictures of women athletes, and some of those pictures will be attractive to men, and those pictures will have a strong physicality to them. This is inevitable. it's probably inevitable that there will be a butt shot here and there and I'm not sure that there shouldn't be.

But what's gross about the pictures is the totality of how commercial interests portray women's bodies and use that portrayal to reinforce a single narrative about desirability, and to attract and manipulate men in turn.
posted by gauche at 3:06 PM on August 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


scrowdid: Ah but, clearly this human being is so much more than just an athlete, too.

I'm not sure what you think you're trying to point out. Your point seems to be, "We can't focus on everything about this person all the time, so it's okay to just focus on the aspect addressed by this event." I agree with that. The event is about athletics, not about her hot ass.
posted by gilrain at 3:12 PM on August 3, 2012


I will click on "SEXIEST OLYMPIC ATHLETES" click-bait all day long, but damn if it doesn't bother me when they put gratuitous butt porn as the art for news stories.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:16 PM on August 3, 2012


Yeah that is an awful lot of ass pics. But surely some of the explanation has to relate to the fact that these women are undoubtedly and justifiably proud of their surrealistically stellar physiques. They aren't required to wear tiny bikini bottoms, are they?
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:16 PM on August 3, 2012


TheRedArmy: They aren't required to wear tiny bikini bottoms, are they?

Until recently, they actually did! However, that was recently changed. Not surprisingly, most choose to go on wearing what they've always worn. It's a sport born of beach culture, after all.
posted by gilrain at 3:19 PM on August 3, 2012


They aren't required to wear tiny bikini bottoms, are they?

I had thought so, but I guess they just changed the rules: wikipedia; huffington post.
posted by Forktine at 3:20 PM on August 3, 2012


Because the point is the gross objectification of women.

That's trying to have the cake and eat it too. It's can be useful to compare volleyball with other sports, or compare women's event coverage with men's event coverage, or compare woman's volleyball with men's volleyball, but when you're just going to cherry pick, it's meaningless - you can produce whatever story you feel like telling. Men have to wear skimpy show-all swim trunks while women get full equestrian riding jackets. Oh teh outrage! :)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:20 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Winter Olympics requires all alpine volleyball players to wear parkas.
posted by palidor at 3:22 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


As we watch the beach volleyball competitions, how much time is spent filming the backsides of the female vs. the male? Has someone put a stopwatch to that question? I've watched both and I haven't noticed much of a difference. Well, the difference being the eye-drawing, just 3 square inches of material short of being a thong, bikini bottoms that some females wear during the competition. What I've seen is a camera following the action and sometimes that included butt shots.. I'm hetero male, I notice butts, but I watch for the spikes and digs from both the men and women.

Is there a rule that says the women have to wear a bikini? No. May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh didn't and my enjoyment of watching them play was not diminished.
posted by Mojojojo at 3:23 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Way to miss my point, shakespeherian
posted by wierdo at 3:23 PM on August 3, 2012


What's your point? I apparently missed it.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:24 PM on August 3, 2012


I'm not sure what you think you're trying to point out. Your point seems to be, "We can't focus on everything about this person all the time, so it's okay to just focus on the aspect addressed by this event." I agree with that. The event is about athletics, not about her hot ass.

It's more like this: everyone has lots of aspects to them - they've got a hot ass, they hit volleyballs good, they volunteer at shelters. Sometimes we focus on one of them to the apparent exclusion of others, but that shouldn't mean we think less of any of the others.
posted by scrowdid at 3:29 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was it here that I saw a much discussed video of a female (teen girl?) sprinter who exhibited much joie de vivre during warmups. Ain't just volleyball.

You are thinking of Michelle Jenneke, though I don't think the video made it here.


IIRC that is not even at the actual current Olympics, but at some junior world championships in Barcelona.
posted by elizardbits at 3:37 PM on August 3, 2012


she is adorable and i want us to be BFFs
posted by elizardbits at 3:38 PM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


You guys are all perverts...
posted by Skygazer at 3:40 PM on August 3, 2012


shakespeherian: What's your point? I apparently missed it.

I think he's saying that the link should read:

What if men's Olympic sports were photographed like women's beach volleyball?

rather than:

What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?
posted by gman at 3:44 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a lifetime player of beach volleyball, I can attest to the difficulty of this game.

You're running on SAND, a lot. You're diving every third or so rally. The best players are the ones with the fortitude to get to everything. It's like you're on a desert island with your partner, against the elements and the other team, and there is no in-game coaching or help.

It's just a really tough game, and whether it's bikinis or t-shirts, you really HURT in the last stages of a match.

(That said, I hate what they have made out of it, with the loud music and the obnoxious PA announcers, and all that other glitzy shit.)
posted by Danf at 3:47 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the Ancient Olympics the men competed in total nudity, covered only in olive oil and sweat.

Not only that, but afterward when that olive oil and sweat was scraped off it was saved and sold to rich women. Gladiator sweat too. Also, top gladiators and olympians often had relations with rich and powerful women. They were even hired out to parties where they'd just hang out naked and flex.
posted by cmoj at 3:47 PM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


gman gets the prize. Typing on these tablet thingies is slow enough without bringing liquor and elbow room into the discussion.
posted by wierdo at 3:48 PM on August 3, 2012


I know that they're trying to demonstrate the absurd difference in framing in how we objectify the female body versus the male body, but when they're all just jocky and sweaty and bent into grunty shapes, the distinctions demonstrated are pretty minimal, except in highlighting the dumbness of press photography.

If you want to really make this point, imagine men and women in formal party clothes, and then imagine that men's outfits as if they cut the way the women's outfits are—backless, plunging necklines, slit skirts, off-the-shoulder looks. That really shows off the gulf in our aesthetic.

But men are gross, so showing skin is bad, right?
posted by sonascope at 3:54 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball, I'd probably pay a lot closer attention.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:56 PM on August 3, 2012


Instead it seems that in many cases the men's butts get completely blocked from view. Is this deliberate? Or just an unconscious lack of interest in what's going on down there when men are onscreen?
posted by hermitosis at 4:02 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In reference to the outfits during beach volleyball; as has been pointed out, women can where whatever they want now after the rules change. But what surprised me was when one of the top teams' was interviewed and said that they were glad to be playing during they day so that they could wear their bikinis since that's what they are most comfortable with. Others said roughly the same thing; having to cover up for the night games is, unsurprisingly, a bit uncomfortable for a beach game.

In any case, it looks to me like shots of male swimmers are just as lingery and lascivious, it's just they focus on the the chest and abs rather than the butt.
posted by Justinian at 4:09 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, top gladiators and olympians often had relations with rich and powerful women. They were even hired out to parties where they'd just hang out naked and flex.

I learned this by watching historical documentaries like Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
posted by Justinian at 4:14 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't swimmers shave their legs?
posted by PJLandis at 4:16 PM on August 3, 2012


Wait, that might be a diver.
posted by PJLandis at 4:18 PM on August 3, 2012


Egg Shen: "On the other hand, consider this picture of Mary Lou Retton.

I forgot what my point was.
"

Dude. She's 16. Easy there.
posted by Splunge at 4:20 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many swimmers do, and nearly all cyclists. Divers might, but I can't see how it would help them... maybe they just feel left out?
posted by gilrain at 4:21 PM on August 3, 2012




Instead it seems that in many cases the men's butts get completely blocked from view. Is this deliberate? Or just an unconscious lack of interest in what's going on down there when men are onscreen?


Actually, it makes them all look like the could be nude.
posted by Mojojojo at 4:22 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instead it seems that in many cases the men's butts get completely blocked from view. Is this deliberate? Or just an unconscious lack of interest in what's going on down there when men are onscreen?
posted by hermitosis at 4:02 PM on August 3 [+][!]


Dude - are you kidding me? The blocking just makes it look like they are naked - so awesome! Imagination fills in alot for me. Naked diving, naked hugging, naked hanging around the shallow little pool....

*gotta go
posted by helmutdog at 4:24 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mojojojo - you and think alike!! We should hang out more.
posted by helmutdog at 4:25 PM on August 3, 2012



Mojojojo - you and think alike!! We should hang out more.


Simon Bishop: Thank you, Melvin. You... overwhelm me.
[pauses]
Simon Bishop: I love you.
Melvin Udall: I tell you, buddy... I'd be the luckiest guy alive if that did it for me.

:)
posted by Mojojojo at 4:33 PM on August 3, 2012


In trms of the actual TV coverage I don't know if everyone gets the same pool footage or not but in the one match I saw on the BBC (the sport was just too dull to me to watch anymore but I wanted to watch at least some of everything I could) I noticed plenty of restraint.

No gratuitous butt shots, only saw one close up on some sort of hand signal and at the serve, where three of the four players all seem to bend over at once the shots seemed to be framed to only show waist up.

There was definately more on show for the mens diving (the trunks they wear seem to be incredibly tiny and I can't imagine a reason for it other than aesthetics).
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:37 PM on August 3, 2012


Pretty sure this has been linked before, but it never hurts to look at it again:
Olympics or gay porn?
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:44 PM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks to my constant bitching the first night of the games, when it seemed like this was all that NBC was going to show, my young sons think the sport is called "Buttball." I should probably correct them before they go back to school and get in trouble.
posted by Lectrolamb at 4:48 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude. She's 16. Easy there.

You went the extra mile to include the link to the photo, soooo...easy there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:15 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mojojojo - I said hang out - not make out.

Ha!
posted by helmutdog at 5:19 PM on August 3, 2012


hehehe
posted by Mojojojo at 5:24 PM on August 3, 2012


I read an article someplace online about how beach volleyball had to be played in bikini because the sand!

You know, I've seen the word so many times, but I never realized it was the plural of bikinus.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:04 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bikinum
posted by Burhanistan at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2012


I think the Olympics should cover this sort of stuff instead. Show more of her curling up with a good book and a chai - the real person inside - and less of the objectifying her as a mere hitter of volleyballs.

By "more" you mean "far, far, FAR less" right? The "human interest", "came from a small town" junk takes up more time than any actual playing of sports.
posted by DU at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems like a lot of folks in this thread could use a shower...
posted by wierdo at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2012


The objectifying here is disgusting.

I far prefer the objectifying I ran across in 4chan's /u/.(also)
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:10 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Bikinii, people.
posted by Justinian at 6:13 PM on August 3, 2012


Where did every guy's penis and testicle(s) go?

I know about dancer's belts (which can enhance one's optics, especially amongst the pre-/teenaged ballet dancing crowd), but is there a good treatment of the psychology behind male gymnasts' fashion?
posted by porpoise at 6:20 PM on August 3, 2012


No, you dorks, it's quadkini or octokini or dodecakini or what have you. If there is a wave-related incident, you may end up with like heptabikini. Or if you live in one of the sexy countries.
posted by samofidelis at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure this has been linked before, but it never hurts to look at it again:
Olympics or gay porn?


They're really putting the XXX in the XXX Olympics this year.
posted by adso at 6:54 PM on August 3, 2012


Dude. She's 16. Easy there.

How old are you my pretty little miss
how old are you my honey
she answered him with a loving smile
I'll be sixteen come Sunday
- Black Jack Davey (traditional)

I know a little girl
sixteen years old
she says Bill, if you'll stop drinkin'
I will satisfy your soul
- Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down (Big Bill Broonzy)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:00 PM on August 3, 2012


Y'know, I can't help but notice that TFA somewhat lies about the real subject matter.

The author doesn't seem to have a problem with "Beach Volleyball", so much as "women". All the supposed counterexamples consist exclusively of males.

If they made the exact same set of poses taken from the female version of each sport (or even 50/50 mixed genders), they would have stayed true to the subject - But then, I suppose they didn't ever really mean to make the "point" as advertised, instead going for a "Look how much the olympics exploits women!" angle.

But then, I wouldn't disagree with that - Indeed, I would only complain at the lack of balance, in that, well, look how much the olympics exploits everyone, from the performers to the audience to the host cities. I would, quite honestly, call the sexism inherent in beach volleyball one of the IOC's most tame of sins.
posted by pla at 7:03 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, you dorks, it's quadkini or octokini or dodecakini or what have you. If there is a wave-related incident, you may end up with like heptabikini. Or if you live in one of the sexy countries.

That's for experts. For amateurs, it's best to start with a single kini and not to experiment until one's developed a basic level of proficiency at kini-ing.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are thinking of Michelle Jenneke, though I don't think the video made it here.

The best part of the video is where she SMOKED the field.
posted by peep at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who?
posted by Mojojojo at 7:23 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


WHO?

Damn. Just... damn! DAY-YUM!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:35 PM on August 3, 2012


Everything else aside, that video makes me sad because I don't think I've ever enjoyed anything in my entire life as much as she appears to be enjoying running. I mean, sometimes stuff is okay, but it doesn't make me like happy dance.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe you should try a sad dance, then, Justinian.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:46 PM on August 3, 2012


Roses are red, and ripe for plucking
You're sixteen, and ready for high school.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:33 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I... don't know what you're saying so I don't know whether I should be skeeved.
posted by Justinian at 8:41 PM on August 3, 2012


In the Ancient Olympics the men competed in total nudity, covered only in olive oil and sweat.

Somehow, my brain inserted "Olive Garden" into that sentence and my concept of midwestern dining culture changed forever.


Do they serve magic lizard's flesh at Olive Garden?
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on August 3, 2012


I... don't know what you're saying so I don't know whether I should be skeeved.

Just that you said you've never had anything in your life that would make you do a "happy dance". And that the video, therefore, made you "sad". So I suggested a sad dance. That's all! You know, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, as they say.

But, then, maybe better for you to not dance at all? You might be an awful dancer!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:40 PM on August 3, 2012


...shot butt
posted by MuffinMan at 9:25 PM on August 3


That's discusting.
posted by Decani at 6:09 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


But men are gross, so showing skin is bad, right?

I think this is an interesting topic and I'm sorry that some people felt they had to discuss it by linking to other sexy shots of female athletes.

The question is, are men's bodies gross or are we trained to think that? Is it biology or is it culture? Thousands of years of patriarchy when men did the sculpting, the painting, the photographing, and the printing of photographs just means that men chose the objects of desire. Obviously the ancient Greeks did not find men gross. As a women, I find the male swimmers and gymnasts the opposite of gross. (To be truthful I do find the weightlifters a bit gross but I'm sure they are sexy to lots of people.) So are men gross or have we just been conditioned to think that?

The interesting question to me is with more females in power, taking the pictures and choosing which pictures to run with, will we see a more equitable objectification of the sexes? I think not. I think that female publishers are still going to lead with the picture that grabs and sells. Right now that seems to be female butt cheeks. A few hundred years down the road maybe humans will be re-programed to respond to something different. Hard to say.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The question is, are men's bodies gross or are we trained to think that?

I think it's the latter. I noticed a lot of people on Facebook were posting this story with "LOL balls!" and "Ew!" messages, even straight women and I asked why. I found most of the photos of male athletes in the feature to be hot. This idea that female bodies = sexy and males bodies = comical, or gross really confuses me. I think it's related to the other persistent meme that straight women don't like sex.

The closest anyone got to an answer was a guy: "It comes from a "no homo" type of homophobia, I think, like a dick shot in a Judd Apatow movie. Even women are taught to laugh to show they're not gay for guys. Which is crazy."

I just like seeing the human form. Male. Female. Whatever. I don't even have to sexually attracted to them to see the inherent beauty of it. There's nothing inherent gross about ball sacks. There's nothing inherently gross about anything in nature (except death and pestilence, I guess). It's completely cultural.
posted by Kurichina at 10:56 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even women are taught to laugh to show they're not gay for guys. Which is crazy."

Ha! True AND pathetic. Which again goes back to "women who like sex or like men are sluts." I really think that many (most?) men would prefer it if all of us ladies were hot for each other.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:06 AM on August 4, 2012


Obviously the ancient Greeks did not find men gross.

The ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, the Renaissance, the neoclassicists, something something else that came after that, and the bits in between where when Christian art took over and both men and women in paintings and sculptures was either fully clothed and looking very sombre and very deep and holy, or fully clothed and looking totally weird and holy.

With the exception of holy gay icon of all holy gay icons, Saint Sebastian of course.

If you've ever stood below Michelangelo's David and looked up you'd be in no doubt that something got screwed up along the way, at least, in western art history.
posted by bitteschoen at 11:15 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, by the way, the best thing about the news agency photos of women's volleyball are not the photos themselves (no really!) it's the captions. Check the last one, "a detailed view of the match ball".
posted by bitteschoen at 11:17 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


are men's bodies gross or are we trained to think that?

Well, just as with women, it depends who we're talking about.

I used to think men's bodies were gross. Then I realised I was being mindlessly influenced by the more retrograde elements of my benighted upbringing in stupid macho northern England. I'm depressingly, relentlessly heterosexual but I can at least now recognise that men's bodies can be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. Cuh. Michelangelo was so much smarter than me. What a pisser.
posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread has affected me, even though I didn't jump in to the discussion. This morning I did a double-take at this photo of Pistorius ... and then wondered if it was unusual. The image search of his photos shows that generally he is shown from a 'different perspective'.

I join in the concern about objectifying any athlete's body, but strongly agree that this is generally done to the women far more than the men. Sad to admit, but at least this offers us an opportunity to look at harmful cultural influences that we may not have recognized in ourselves.
posted by Surfurrus at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The image search of his photos shows that generally he is shown from a 'different perspective'.

His big beaming smile?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 AM on August 4, 2012


He certainly does have a beautiful smile ;-)

... most of the stories about Pistorius note his prosthetic legs, this one features a photo that doesn't show them at all (not that his legs should always be his only story!). I just think this photo of him is deliberately unkind/titillating, considering how amazing his athleticism is. (I say the same for the volleyball team photos above.)
posted by Surfurrus at 11:54 AM on August 4, 2012


I join in the concern about objectifying any athlete's body

When it comes to the Olympics I think this very much depends on the specifics of "objectifying". The physical bodies of the athletes is inseparably linked to Citius, Altius, Fortius. How do you think you get faster and stronger, after all. In many ways the Olympics are a celebration of the human form.

Lingering shots of bikini clad asses are a different matter, obviously.
posted by Justinian at 12:57 PM on August 4, 2012


This morning I did a double-take at this photo of Pistorius ... and then wondered if it was unusual. The image search of his photos shows that generally he is shown from a 'different perspective'.
...
I just think this photo of him is deliberately unkind/titillating, considering how amazing his athleticism is.


I'm sorry, but I have to ask what it is that you find unkind/titillating -- is it that they're not showing Pistorius' prosthetics? Do image searches for any other runner, and you'll see a lot more variation in the amount of the body shown. Usain Bolt has five waist-up shots in his top 20 (more if you count the ones that don't reach his knees) -- there isn't one waist-up of Pistorius in his top 50.
posted by Etrigan at 1:09 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


One interesting aspect of the olympics is that they are super zealous about people using video footage anywhere, so all we see are pictures. So the videos of Michelle Jenneke all over the place are from some totally different event, but you can actually see it because they're not obsessed with copyright control.

In '08 Woman's beach volleyball kind of got a higher profile because the top two teams competing for the gold was the US and China in the last round. Apparently the US team had only lost to one other team -- which happened to be the Chinese team they were up against.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on August 4, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: "Dude. She's 16. Easy there.

You went the extra mile to include the link to the photo, soooo...easy there.
"

Late coming back here. But point taken, I think. I use the Firefox quote add-on so it automatically quotes the whole comment. If I thought it would be an issue I would have killed the link. But I honestly didn't consider that.

Quick question though. Do you think objectifying the ass of a 16 year old is a problem? Or not? Or is it my bad quoting style that you have a problem with?
posted by Splunge at 8:04 PM on August 4, 2012


Do you think objectifying the ass of a 16 year old is a problem?

Her face is clearly visible in the photo. If her head had been turned and her face not visible, I'd say we were more firmly into the Ass Objectivism Zone (generally abbreviated as AOZ). But as it is, I'd say it's simply a portrait of a teenage athlete, wearing the typical athletic clothes that she performs in. Are those clothes somewhat *revealing*? Sure. But what, is that news alla sudden? I dunno, maybe she shoulda worn a burkha?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 PM on August 4, 2012


This is ass objectivication (VERY ASS OBJECTIFYING).
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a congenital amputee, I love that picture of Pistorius. He is just, you know, running. If he were running with his stuff hanging out, then that would be unkind/titillating, IMO. Enough already with the cheesecake shots of his legs. Ain't nothing you haven't seen before...right?

Pistorius is a whole different discussion, though, for another thread. I don't love the idea of his OLYMPIC VICTORIES being ogled by a bunch of amputee fetishists, but (a) that's what happens when you are an AMPUTEE IN THE OLYMPICS DUDE and (b) it seems like most of them are straight guys, anyway.
posted by skbw at 6:39 AM on August 5, 2012


I think it makes sense to objectify the bodies of athletes. They're impressive. We admire them. The ancient Greeks did too. Look at all those statues.
posted by Decani at 11:23 AM on August 6, 2012


Girl Gives Usain Bolt the Eye
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


They cherry-picked some ass shots from a stock photo site and decided to bitch about it for ad revenue, which we are conveniently providing.

Here's some real, actual photographic coverage of a women's beach volleyball match from the same site they found their pictures on (Getty Images). Not a single gratuitous ass shot.
posted by chundo at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2012


"Why doesn't the liberal media ever talk about all the buildings that haven't been blown up in Iraq?"

Cherry-picking or not, the fact is that actual professional photographers took some pretty blatantly ass-featuring shots -- not even bothering to get the names attached to the asses at times, and claiming to be pictures of the ball in others, and then Getty put them up as though they were just innocuous shots of athletic events.
posted by Etrigan at 1:57 PM on August 6, 2012


New Yorker: The Body Olympic
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:53 AM on August 7, 2012


They cherry-picked some ass shots from a stock photo site and decided to bitch about it for ad revenue, which we are conveniently providing.


But who cherry-picked? those photos are the ones that end up very frequently on the agency news releases, in turn reproduced by other news websites, and of course on the papers -- all over the world. They may also show other pics of the volleyball but ah if there's a good ass shot they will definitely use that prominently, especially if it's tabloids or tabloids-like publications, but not necessarily restricted to that.

It's the media who like to cherry-pick because readers love to see those photos and that's why photographers take them. It's a whole chain, the public gets what the public wants.

Nothing necessarily awful about it, mind you, I'm a woman and I don't mind seeing a nice female ass shot myself, but that doesn't mean I'm not aware of what's going on here at media level. It's obviously noticeable that there is no equivalent being done with any male athletes, even when, by god, there would be material for that. Why? Because male athletes are automatically taken more seriously for their performance and athleticism, even when they have a perfect ass or god forbid an eye-catching package. And because a shot of a male ass or package would be omg homoerotic. And because because because, just because, we're just used to the mainstream media using hot female bodies more than hot male bodies, they sell easier.

Sorry for stating the super obvious eh!
posted by bitteschoen at 1:33 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to say that those pictures are totally cool, but they are pretty buried - the only way I could find them is by searching "beach volleyball" in the Olympics section and sorting by "Iconic", which seems to be a measure of what users are viewing most (possibly exaggerated now because of articles like the OP?) rather than conscious editorial promotion. There's all kinds of weird and borderline offensive stuff in stock photo sites; the problem comes when their customers start using them inappropriately.

They are outliers that maybe shouldn't exist, but I haven't seen the likes of them being used in major media outlets. I'd be very surprised if anyone is using those pictures when reporting on beach volleyball. Have you seen them anywhere besides Getty?
posted by chundo at 7:46 AM on August 7, 2012


Tempest in a teapot.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2012


Screencaps can be abused!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chundo: eh will you really be very surprised? here you go, from none other than the Daily Mail, obviously (online version, I have no access to the print one, thankfully), with a little bit of Boris Johnson thrown in as well, but yeah, first picture is a Reuters one from the gallery in the post.

(Of course that's the first, obvious example. The Daily Mail and arses, it's like bread and butter, I know. But they're not the only tabloid in the world...)
posted by bitteschoen at 10:19 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow's gold medal game is gonna be epic. Too bad NBC is so terrible. Even the so-called "live stream" is terrible. There is no excuse for not showing this game as it happens.
posted by Justinian at 10:55 PM on August 7, 2012


Really, NBC?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, NBC?

Looks like they pulled that video. So... good? Maybe somebody's paying attention.
posted by LordSludge at 2:41 AM on August 10, 2012


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