View Full Version : Men VS Women re: the Media

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:09 AM
I posted these thoughts in another thread but thought that it could make for some good debate/discussion.

Originally posted by Rebecca
YOu want to know the MAIN difference between the men and women?

Not the way they play, not the pay difference - look at how the media threats them.

The women are considered sex objects, and personalities. They are not respected as athletes.

The men are seen as athletes first, so everything else becomes blurred.

If the media paid as much attention the mens "assets" and "personalities" as they did the women, those of you who say that the ATP has more personality or good stories would realize how very wrong those comments were.

The media treats the men and women differently in how they write their articles, how they question them in press conferences, and even how they commentate their matches.

The above, is my opinion on the difference between the two.

It is also the reason the women are so well known IMO. There is more of a market to use women as sex objects, as there is for men.

This isn't a thread to talk about who is better - men or women.

It is to talk about how the media threats each tour, and why that might be.

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:12 AM
That's a really great point Becca and I totally agree! The women are totally marketed as sex objects where as the men are not at all. And it's not because there aren't good looking men in tennis :confused:

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:25 AM
That is a pretty good observation Becca. The press uses the women's sex appeal to no end. Also I think the women have what seems like more rivalries, because they are women. Our society loves to paint the picture of the 'catty woman'. You know the idea that women are nice to each others faces but they are total back stabbers.

To their credit though, the WTA has been able to use this and has really made leaps and bounds over the years. I also think brining people into the sport in anyway is better than not brining them into it at all.

What puzzles me is that the ATP tour doesn't try to utalize sex appeal. I think they underestimate the amount of women watching tennis or pro sports in general, and at least 10% of the male population also. They were moving in the right direction with their new balls idea, but that kinda died.

Personally I love women's tennis, but I think men's tennis gets a bad rap. I would like the men's game even more, if they some players could try not to sound so envious of the women's game and then make really disgusting statments.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:31 AM
It is very ironic that the womens game has founded its popularity these days on subtle sex discrimination.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:37 AM
The idea of women being 'catty' and being used as sex objects - is discrimination.

Typical stereotypes of women, are what have given the sport its present appeal.

I do not argue that the level of play is quite good, and I am not insulting them as athletes.

I am merely questioning how the media has chosen to treat the women.

"The debate should be: how medias should threats each tour?

For me I prefer tennis to be less popular and that player are threated with respect."

jp nice point. I also feel that way. I wouldn't want to watch a mens match listening to the commentators talk about how some new guy is going to be the next coming of a male version of Anna Kournikova.

It is derogatory.

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:37 AM
It sells newpapers and magazines ,and people will tune in to watch what unfolds on tv. It's just the way society see women as sex objects.

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:38 AM
I don't think any male sport can be based on sex appeal because if it was, I think straight males would instantly label that sport a sissy sport or something to that extent. Female sports can be based around sex appeal in a way to attract the men yet not repulse women... i doubt the atp would be able to find that balance :(

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:42 AM
I'm not suggesting that I think the men should try to sell sex. I don't think that it would really work, on a larger scale at least.

Gatorshort - so you feel that since women are looked down on in society as sex objects first, that it is alright for the media to portray them this way?

Discriminate against women, as long as it sells?

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:43 AM
True. I think it's sad that women's teams in less glamourous sports even feel they have to pose nude to give themselves some sort of sex cred.

Somewhere (I think Brazil) their female teams even wear first names not surnames on their jerseys!! (Annabella sound so much sexier than Smith!!)

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:44 AM
I completely agree with you. The media does not take women's tennis seriously. However I think both the WTA and the women themselves and thier representatives play into it and I am not just talking about Anna. I was shocked and dismayed when during her interview before the Hantuchova match, one of the interivewers had the unmitigated gall to ask Jelena if she was excited to be participating in the glamour match with Daniela. She said that she was concentrating on tennis but if people like her looks thats great. Can you imagine 1) someone asking James Blake about a hottie match between him and Safin and 2) any male player saying its great if they like my looks.

Michael Jordan was gorgeous and had enhanced marketability because of it but I don't remember anyone ever mentioning it to him to his face during an interview about basketball.

Unfortunately Hantuchova is being Kournikovaized as well.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:52 AM
Thanks for your input midora and number1kim :D

Yes it is unforunate that women have to be as sexy as possible, to make their sport as popular as possible.
In some aspects the womens sports movement has came a long way, obviously. With media cover, and international appeal of certain sports (tennis).
But it is ironic IMO, that recently this popularity has beem booming in thanks to subtle sex discrimination.

midora - great points about how they interview the women. Granted Blake has been asked about his modelling contract before, but never in the way that the women are.
The men get treated with a certain amount of respect in their interveiws, that the women don't seem to get.

One needs to look no further than Anna's Wimbledon interview to see that. Because she is this beautiful, rich, blonde "vixen", some people see it as a right to treat her like she is stupid, or powerless.

Its just not right.

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:54 AM
That's a great point you make midora :wavey: The women don't really do anything to stop the way they are portrayed but in a way, I can't really blame them because I think they almost know that that's what gets them the most attention... Anna K. brought so many people to tennis... because of her forehand? I don't think so... and I'd also be willing to bet that a lot of male fans don't exactly mind Serena's plunging necklines or Daniela's cocktail dresses...

Jul 9th, 2002, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by Rebecca
The men get treated with a certain amount of respect in their interveiws, that the women don't seem to get.

The women don't get the respect because they don't demand it... like it was said earlier, the men would never put up with questions about their looks in the way that women do...

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 01:04 AM
angele - if the women don't put up with it the media then writes articles about how they are rude, primadonna's.

Look at how carefully Anna's interviews are critiqued.

If she doesn't respond exactly how they want her to, then they write bad things about her.

Jul 9th, 2002, 01:04 AM
Oops I think I lost my meaning in my overly long post LOL, sorry. I certainly don't like the idea that women have to sell themselves on sex appeal and stereotypes, and I totally agree with you Becca that is really sad.

But I'm not sure women could get their foot in the door any other way. Society has changed mostly for the better but stereotypes especially about women have not. I think the women have to brinng in the viewers, and then show them that they are just as competative as the men, which I think they are doing. But if the sex appeal stops, will the money? I'm not sure, I'd like to say no for sure, but I can't.

Angele you make a good point. Again our society probably wouldn't accept men's tennis if it was marketed more like the women's game.

Ok this post got longer than I wanted it too LOL.

the cat
Jul 9th, 2002, 01:08 AM
Becca, you already have an understanding of how the media works with relations to women and men. Have you been taking Psychology courses in College?

You make alot of good points. But I think women athletes are treated with some respect. And awe! :eek: Great athletes like Marion Jones, the Williams sisters and others are rightly treated with great respect as athletes. And they deserve it!

Mens tennis players like Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Jan Michael Gambill aren't treated as sex objects? :confused:

But it is unfortunate that Jelena Dokic has to put up with glamour questions when she is playing a big match against Daniela Hantuchova. :( Can you imagine how the media would have reacted if Anna Kournikova had to play Daniela Hantuchova at Wimbledon? It would have been crazy! :eek: And that's part of the problem.

Jul 9th, 2002, 01:46 AM
I haven't received my Advantage Magazine from the WTA yet but I heard there are a lot of pictures of Venus, Serena, Martina and Anna in evening attire etc... and there is only one picture of Justine.
I don't see it changing since the head of the WTA is an ex-pimp (I meant former Nike Executive)

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:19 AM
Meesh - I hadn't ordered the Advantage magazine or heard much about it yet.

Although there were some pics in the Deuce magazine of the men out of uniform and off the court, they were mainly on court pics.

To be fair, Deuce magazine did devote a few pages where some women made up the panel, and they voted on who was the hottest guy in tennis :rolleyes: lol
(for those who care, James beat Marat in the final)

So I can't bash Advantage for doing the same thing I suppose.

Cybelle Darkholme
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:20 AM
Juju needs to get a glamour make over from Jenny jones. Shes a pretty girl but that cap hides everything!!!!

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:25 AM
How many times have Marat Safin or Andy Roddick have to fend off accusations that people only focus on their looks? Not many I don't think.

I took a film media class last year and we analysed the treatment of male and female athletes in the media, using figure skating as a specific example. The advertisement for the men's event showed the men skating, had rock music, and called them by their last names. The ad for the women's event, however, used some kind of soap opera music, called the women by their first names, and showed them in a context that had nothing to do with skating, but with them having a very sad or determined look on their faces. Their stories were emphasized rather than their games.

The media's treatment of Kournikova is even worse. Part of this is Anna's fault for inviting it so much and doing so many sponsorship deals. Even though they don't actually distract her too much from her game, she makes so much money and publicity from them that she doesn't even need to win, and also gets many distracting fans! She's clearly affected by the way she is treated by ordinary people who are all obsessed with her body. This is the reason that Hantuchova or Dokic don't agree to do anything like this, even though there are lots of opportunities.

Also to blame for the sexualizing of women's tennis is the WTA tour, who took full advantage of Kournikova in her early years and hyped her up beyond reasonable expectations. As a result of their carelessness for profit, their current players now pay the price.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:26 AM
But why does she need a glamour make over?

Why can't she be appreciated for her tennis ability?

Why should she have to be made to be "more attractive" to the male population in order to get recognized?

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:27 AM
The idea of women being 'catty' and being used as sex objects - is discrimination.

I don't think that any woman on WTA Tour is being used as a sex object against her will. In opposite, the protests against this kind of "discrimination" seem to come from those deprived of being used as sex objects.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:34 AM
ys - was that an indirect slap at me, for bringing it up?

I beg to differ- Jelena Dokic has said many times that she is a tennis player not a model.

And many consider her attractive.

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:39 AM
ys - was that an indirect slap at me, for bringing it up?

Becca, dear, how would I...

I beg to differ- Jelena Dokic has said many times that she is a tennis player not a model.

And you believe it? Just look at her dresses at tournaments. If you think that they are not designed to look sexy, then, well, I might be wrong. If Justine Henin would say that, I'd probably agree with you.

Jul 9th, 2002, 03:04 AM
if A SMALL NUMBER of women on the WTA tour are marketed as sex objects, it's because they have agreed to be. did someone force Venus to wear that peek-a-boo breast-revelaing outfit at the Oz Open last year? or Anna to bare her belly at Wimby? or Serena to show off her navel ring? or Ashley Harkleroad to tart up herself as the next Kournikova?

like it or not, many women see themselves as making the active choice to reveal their bodies and be on display. feminists see this as a throwback to the days of disempowered tits-n-arses controlled and manipulated by men. and certainly a man -- Bert MacGuire -- was at the helm of this development.

but believe it or not, somen women feel as if they are exercising their own empowered choice to display their bodies and are completely comfortable with being used as "sex objects". did Daniela Hantuchova look uncomfortable to you in her little black dress? she knew what the deal was and she was quite happy to go along. so are a few of the women on the tour.

others choose not to. there are many very attractive, sexy women on the WTA tour who do not go along with this agenda. in fact the majority of the women do not. the handful that do are not representative of the tour. let's not forget that. the majority of players choose to let their rackets do the talking for them.

a handful of others accept that no matter how good they are, what gets them noticed is a bit of tits and arse on display.

does this hurt women's tennis? it depends on your perspective. from the point of view of marketing, sex will always sell. and so the WTA is attracting a viewership that the ATP would kill for.

do the ends justify the means? i peronally think not, but at the end of the day it becomes a personal choice that each woman makes. some say "no thank you". others say "show me the money and i'll show you my boobs".

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 09:26 AM
I found this on cnnsi, and figured it applied somewhat to this topic. While I dont agree with his comment that stalkers are bent on sex appeal, it is an interesting article none the less.


Dangerous appeal

Playing up sexiness in sports can make for a risky game
Posted: Monday July 08, 2002 11:20 AM

Dubravko Rajcevic and Albrecht Stromeyer are well-known names among professional tennis insiders, but they're not the latest young serve-and-volleyers to rise in the rankings. Rajcevic is a convicted stalker and Stromeyer an accused one, two men who apparently have gone past harmless fan worship of female tennis players and entered the realm of obsession.

Rajcevic, a Croatian-born engineer, was sentenced last year to two years in prison for sending Martina Hingis dozens of love letters, repeatedly calling her hotel rooms, following her at events and appearing at her home in Zurich. Stromeyer, a 33-year-old German, has made a habit of showing up at hotels in which Serena Williams is staying and was arrested several weeks ago when he tried to get too close to her at a tournament. Men like Rajcevic and Stromeyer are the reason that Williams had her own bodyguard close at hand when she won the Wimbledon final over her sister Venus on Saturday.

Although creepy fans certainly aren't exclusive to the WTA Tour female tennis players seem to draw more than their share. Several women on the tour have been targeted over the last few years by disturbed men who want to intrude on their lives in frightening ways. But while the tour increases security at events and tries to find other ways to address the issue of stalking on one hand, it is also contributing to the problem on the other.

The WTA doesn't just sell tennis, it sells sex. It only takes a quick look at the tour's glossy new official magazine to recognize that. There are the obligatory pouty pictures of Anna Kournikova, but it's not just about Kournikova anymore. There are photos of the Williamses in slinky formal wear and plenty of other suggestive shots of various players. The cover trumpets the "Celebrities, Glamour, Profiles, Fashion, Lifestyles" to be found inside. The WTA clearly wants the public to see that not only are the players superior athletes -- but they also have curves in all the right places. It's not just the tour that tries to show off the players' looks. Many players, looking for endorsements, do it on their own.

There's nothing inherently wrong with promoting the attractiveness of the players; using sex to push a product merely puts the WTA in the same class as nearly every other company in this country. There is also no disputing that the women's tour is growing in popularity, largely due to the remarkable skills of Venus and Serena, of course, but partly due to the "glam" factor. The U.S. Open final between the Williams sisters last year drew a rating nearly double that of the Notre Dame-Nebraska college football game that aired against it on another network. But there's a dark side to playing up sex appeal -- sometimes it appeals to the wrong people in the wrong ways.

This is not to say that stalkers are drawn to female tennis players just because they wear short skirts or tight-fitting tops. It is certainly not to imply that because many of them show a lot of skin, the players in any way deserve such unwanted attention. But it doesn't take an expert on the mind of a stalker to realize that sex is part of the equation, and when many of the players are marketed as some sort of athlete-model hybrid, it can feed those deranged fantasies.

Tennis isn't the only sport that has begun to play the sex card in its marketing. The WUSA has distributed glamorous shots of some of its more attractive players, including Philadelphia Charge defender Heather Mitts, for instance. As women's professional leagues try to gain a foothold in the public's sports consciousness, many of them aren't above giving a come-hither look to male fans. The only problem with that is, you never know who's looking back.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Phil Taylor writes about a Hot Button issue every Monday on CNNSI.com.

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:03 PM
I've posted this article as well with a poll. Like you, Becca, I wondered how sexy marketing affected players and the perception of the sport.

Did anyone watch the Title IX anniversary special on ESPN? There was an interesting discussion about using sex to market female athletes. I won't try to paraphrase here. Becca, I think that you would enjoy reading a transcript or watching the program for more insights.

Jul 9th, 2002, 03:55 PM
I totally agree with tennischick, because it's a player's choice and the WTA seems to have very little to do with it. The majority of women players don't dress sexy, so they aren't being forced to do anything. Some women feel that it's liberating to dress sexy, and some feel like it's a step back.

Feminists really trip me out, because on one hand their fighting for equal rights and pay. However, they have certain rules that all female atheletes must abide by.

1. Try to play like men(so we can get respect, even though it's 2 different tours)
2. Don't dress sexy(even though you are a woman, it's better to comprimise yourself for the cause)
3 Follow the feminists or you are commiting some type of crime.

Also, the article is alright but anyone can be stalked. Martina Hingis was stalked and she didn't even dress sexy. Do you call wearing on sleeve only sexy? Monica's crazed fan hurt her badly and she wasn't wearing anything revealing? The writer is not being realistic, because anyone knows that a stalker can love you for totally crazy reasons. It doesn't have to be all about sex all the time.

Jul 9th, 2002, 04:03 PM
Stalking, rape, or murder is never about sex. It is always about the criminal's mental instability or need for power over something!

Jul 9th, 2002, 05:24 PM
No one puts a gun against the head of Anna K , Jelena and the others to pose in sexy attire for magazines and to get nicely paid for it.

The 'naked on a horse' photo shoot that Jelena is planning to do in a week or so was organised/arranged by a guy from the WTA. It might even be for the WTA magazine, I forget now. It's either for GQ or this new WTA mag.

At the end of the day the players have to accept responsibilty for any negative or postive aspects of doing such photo shoots. It shouldn't rest with the WTA and certainly not the magazines. As I said, no ones forcing the players to do them.

Brian Stewart
Jul 9th, 2002, 07:55 PM
The title of this thread is a bit misleading. It's not a case of Men vs Women, per se, as it is of how the media covers each one.

I can't fault the WTA or the women for promoting sex appeal. The women have had a great product (tennis) for a long time. But the tennis media has always shoved them into the background. The people in charge finally figured out that they'd go around the tennis media to the public at large.

That's one basic rule of marketing; get the fans in the door. To keep them in, you need a worthwhile product. The WTA has that, which is why fans are sticking around. If you don't have a good product, then once the initial curiosity wears off, your fan/viewer base will shrivel faster than you can say XFL. The WTA has sustained and even built upon the fan interest.

The biggest problem with the tennis media is their tremendous bias. No matter what happens, they spin it accordingly. If similar situations occur on both tours, it will be spun positively for the men, and negatively for the women. A couple of examples:

After Agassi won the 99 French, he woke up Sampras, and the two of them dominated the remainder of the 99 season, rarely challenged by any other players. How was that portrayed? As a rivalry. Yet when it was Graf and Seles, or any 2 women, it's always portrayed as "lack of depth".

At this year's Wimbledon, after the events of the first week, the tennis writers voted on what would make the best story. (There's an article at the TennisReporters site about this.) They chose Richard Krajicek winning this year's Wimbledon, despite being away from the game for almost 2 years. However, when Seles made her comeback after just over 2 years away, and had success, it was portrayed as a condemnation of the women's tour, and "exposing" the "shallow talent pool". But let's compare the two scenarios.

Seles was 21 when she returned. Krajicek was 30. Seles was in the best shape of her life. Krajicek wasn't, and admitted he was carrying a few extra kilos. Seles was hitting her strokes as well as ever. Krajicek wasn't quite back to his old form. Seles had a unique playing style which the other players hadn't seen for a couple of years, thus giving her an "element of surprise" for the first go 'round. Krajicek's style wasn't unique (although it is disappearing). Seles was one of the greatest players of all time. Krajicek wasn't. Seles was regarded as one of the mentally toughest players of all time. Krajicek wasn't. Seles had been practicing regularly prior to her return. Krajicek wasn't, and said he couldn't practice between matches.

So why was Krajicek's story so great, and Seles's story a negative on the women's tour? If you took one tack or the other, either Seles's story is a bigger "great" or Krajicek's is a bigger negative. Why was the tennis media so quick to look for the positive in Krajicek's return (how well he was able to play), but not in Seles's?

That's the big problem with the tennis media. And that's why tennis isn't as big as it could be in the U.S. They're quick to try to promote the men, and quick to try to knock the women. They (tennis media) should be willing to promote ALL of their assets, regardless of anatomical accessories. Track and field has struggled to gain a footing (no pun intended) in this country. But watch the difference in one of their telecasts. When Marion Jones wins a sprint, as she does ~97% of the time, do the announcers knock the other women? No, they praise Jones for her excellence. They acknowledge her achievements, even though Jones has also done the glam/sex thing.

The tennis media has never given the women their proper respect. So they shouldn't be shocked if the women bypass them to go to the public directly. Why allow a group that has been openly hostile to you to put forth your public image? The irony is, it's backfiring on the tennis press. Instead of their potshots bringing down the women's tour, it makes the tennis press look bad. And every quote they offer from a male player denigrating the women makes the men's tour look whiny and jealous. So not only are they not hurting the women, they are hurting the men by letting their most negative examples represent them.

Back in the early-mid 90's, when the Sampras/Agassi rivalry was in full bloom, the tennis press tried to get a rise out of the women. Surely they must be jealous that the men's tour is getting more attention? Nope. The women's tour was pleased, because they realized that whatever makes men's tennis more popular, makes tennis more popular. And that would make women's tennis more popular. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it's a shame that they (press) don't realize that it still holds true. If they would put an equal effort into trying to build on the popularity of the women now, it would boost ALL of tennis. That would help the men's tour, too. Far more than this adversarial attitude we see too much of now.


Jul 9th, 2002, 08:15 PM
Nice thread topic. Nice initial post.

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 09:45 PM
Thankyou Brian, that was a great post.

There is so much stress put on mens vs Womens, and which is better - as opposed to coming together and feeding off each others popularity.

I hadn't really thought about it that way :)

Crazy Canuck
Jul 9th, 2002, 09:46 PM
I just want to clarify that I was never intending to suggest that the women ONLY have sex appeal to sell their tour.

I was simply pointing out that with that marketting, they are seen as sex objects and personalites, and are treated different from the men because of it.