Yesterday, I made a post about the recent Sports Illustrated cover featuring Serena Williams as its Sports Person of the Year. Here it is if you don't feel like just scrolling down the page to see it:
I posted this entry to both my Facebook news feed and a sports related Facebook group page in which I participate, and while there were not a lot of comments, certainly not enough to draw any statistically significant conclusions, the results were interesting, nonetheless.
First off, I am not doubting the worthiness of Ms. Williams winning this award, nor am I saying that this is anything but a striking and attractive picture of a striking and attractive woman. My gripe was that in the context of the story, such a pose was out of place and hypocritical of SI, but not unexpected, given their annual Swimsuit Edition.
Anyway, back to the responses. Most of the men who responded tended to agree with me, while most of the women, thought it was okay. This surprised me, and I wonder what women would think if Ms. Williams decided to strike the exact same pose on the cover of something like Maxim?
One young (late twenties) woman with whom I volunteer told me last night that she did agree with my reasoning, and wondered if SI would have asked a male athlete to strike a similar pose, and, if so, would those athletes have agreed to do so?
I also found it interesting that one of my Facebook posts was "Liked", but without comment, by another mid-twenties young woman who was a varsity athlete for four years in the Big Ten. Would love to hear her further thoughts on that subject as she would be coming at as both a young woman and an athlete.
In the end, however, Serena Williams agreed to pose for this picture, so what I and others of my ilk see as exploitative and sexist, she obviously sees as something else.