Lingerie Football was announced as the fastest growing female sport in North America. Yes, it is true; society has hit an all-time low with this one. In order for people to watch women's sports, the women need to be in lingerie. Way to stay classy North America!
The most popular female sports are beach volleyball, tennis, and, now, lingerie football. What do all of these things have in common? You guessed it: minimal clothing! Yet one more way of society showing females that the best way to get attention is to take off their clothes.
The front cover story of the newspaper yesterday was an interview with a University Basketball player (Tessa) from the UFV Cascades in the Fraser Valley. At first it looked like the newspaper was finally shedding light on women's sports, but, instead, the interview was about this particular athlete's general disdain for the Lingerie Football League (LFL). Why, we'd like to ask, is this first front cover story about female sports that we have seen all year? Of course the answer, again you guessed it, is because, even if we are anti-LFL, we still find ourselves intrigued by sex and sensationalism. And we still don't report women's sports in any significant way. The reporter did not ask about Tessa's team, the UFV Cascades, hosting a playoff game for the first time since they joined Tier 1 Canadian University sports. They did not ask her about being an amazing All-Star during her 5th and final season as a CIS basketball player. Instead all the focus was on the LFL.
This rant does not have an answer. It also does not pretend to delve deeply into the psychology of keeping females “in their place” - that has been going on since time immemorial. The outrage that it expresses, however, is very real. The answer to this problem may seem complex, but it is actually simple. The females in our lives must begin to understand that their value is not their bodies. If we can find the way to do this, we will have more females growing up to be self-confident, self respecting members of society who can then express their sexuality in any way that they want.
The argument made by many is that these women are using their bodies in the way that they want to and that this is a form of empowerment. Well, this might be empowerment if there was also a women’s football league where they wore uniforms and, if those women decided that, clothes be damned, they want to play in lingerie, but, as we know, this is not the case. If you were to put beach volleyball players in snowsuits - heck, if you were to put them in just shorts and t-shirts, would we still watch? Probably not, unfortunately, because that's already out there and not many of us watch indoor volleyball. Put those long, lean, athletic women in bikinis, however, and we are all in. Get them naked and it would be pay per view. (I will add that, not only are young women missing out on real athletics, but the rest of us are missing out as well. When we don't watch women's basketball, indoor volleyball, rugby, softball, soccer, and the like, we miss out on spectacular athletic demonstrations.)
The answer here would be a systematic approach of exposing young women to “real” female sports (and female professionals in any area for that matter), showing them that they can be valued for their skills, their brains, and their personalities. Then, if they decide when they are older that they want to play lingerie football, that would be their decision and we should respect that. We need, though, to give them a fair chance at a young age, but instead we brainwash them with magazines, television, lingerie football leagues, and a million other instruments that show them that their primary importance is their ability to wear push-up bras, thongs, and heels.
These days we are constantly hearing that strong is the new sexy or that voluptuous, curvy women are what men want and this is certainly a nice change from the bone-rack skinny that has been all the rage for the past couple of decades or so, but what about personality? What about health? The message we are sending is still all about body and, thus, all-wrong from its very core. Let's start telling our daughters, nieces, sisters, friends, and random girls on the street that they are smart, funny, athletic, or any compliment besides pretty and/or sexy. The answer to this problem starts with all of us and it starts slowly but it will leak into society. Will our daughters think that their most important quality is their bodies? I hope not. I hope they know their best qualities are their creativity, their independence, their humor, their kindnesses, their intelligence, and their athleticism.