Women's Tennis Association Releases Sexist 'Best Dressed' Poll. The Internet Reacts.
The Debrief: Twitter users make it clear we should be discussing female tennis players' talent rather than their dresses
People on Twitter have been calling out the Women’s Tennis Association as guilty of everyday sexism. The WTA is facing such heavy criticism after creating a Twitter poll which ranks female tennis players at Wimbledon based on their outfits on court rather than how they play.
This poll shows that sexism still has its hooks in the sporting world. The poll ignores the athletic achievements of successful female athletes and objectifies them. It is ironic that it was posted by a women-led organisation: the ‘Women’s Tennis Association’. Despite the fact that the association was created by Billie Jean King to create equality in tennis, equality is the exact opposite of what the poll is promoting. It sends the message that it’s ok to focus on aesthetic rather than talent.
Angry tweeters drew attention to the fact that the poll only objectifies female athletes -there is no similar survey about the best dressed male tennis players. Where is the survey asking whether Murray or Federer worked their shorts the best as they dove for a shot?
So, does tennis, and specifically, Wimbledon, have a sexism problem? Sex discrimination at Wimbledon seems to be reaching a crescendo, and the WTA poll is the cherry on the cake. Just last week, the scheduling of play on Centre Court and Court 1 at Wimbledon was found to routinely favour male matches over female due to gendered favouritism. This comes in the same week as John McEnroe’s misogynistic comments that Serena Williams wouldn’t be as ‘great’ if she was playing against male players. On top of this, there is still a gender prize money gap, as male tennis players still earn far more than their female counterparts.
These incidents demonstrate that female athletes are still battling sexism on the courts, and sports more generally has a way to go before achieving gender equality. We need to focus on women’s athletic achievements, not what they look like.
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