If Sports Were Covered Like Women’s Beach Volleyball

In case you missed this… interesting contrast between photos of men’s and women’s beach volleyball. For men you find tough, competitive guys:


And for women:



Oh, and here’s a woman actually playing the sport. In that outfit she stays sexy!

Interestingly, there are a number of pics of women listed under “men’s beach volleyball” but no men on the women’s list.

When Nate Jones, over at Metro.us, innocently searched for pics of women’s Olympic beach volleyball, he was left asking, “What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?” Here’s a sampling of what that would look like (you can see all his pics by clicking here):

As the camera hones in on women’s body parts and ignores men’s, you can see why all of us – men and women – come to think of women as the sex objects in our society. Even the fact that women volleyball players wear such a skimpy outfit doubles down on the whole, “women as sex object” thing.

And so ignored men’s bodies leave us ignoring men-as-sexy while the women’s body-focus makes them all about sex. And actually, that’s not very good for our sex lives – or for well-rounded lives. For more on that, see the posts below.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 13, 2012, in feminism, gender, men, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Well there are more male camera holders and directors. One has their hand on buttons and the other on their tool

  2. Randy Splitter

    Hi, Georgia. Yes, but I believe that your first photo is of Misty May-Traynor, Kerry Walsh’s gold medal-winning partner in beach volleyball (not a tough guy image).


  3. Great post. I hate to see our female athletes sexualized like this, or having the condition of their hair debated. On the other side of the coin, we have the Brit editor who was shocked at the way the female judo competitors were beating the heck out of each other…shame that being born female makes it acceptable to sexualize strength and skill to the point it carries as much competitive weight as watching half-naked women engaged in a pillow fight, or alarms men who want to protect us. Completely insulting.

  4. I came upon this on yahoo. Where does trying to equality go too far though? In this instance, regarding sports, I think this is stupid. Has to be a publicity stunt. here’s the link though. http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/men-action/201402/groundbreaking-woman-makes-history-playing-pro-football-game

    • I don’t know enough about the issue to comment. You see huge guys tackling much smaller quarterbacks so I’m not clear on how much of a difference there is with tackling this young woman.

  5. Yeah this is semi pro football. It’s nice for women to try men’s sports. I don’t see anything wrong such as bowling, as usually strength isn’t that big a of a factor as accuracy is. And many women seem to score as well as men in bowling. But she’s only 130lbs. It sounds like a publicity stunt and I don’t like the idea, because she’s going to get seriously hurt. Quarterbacks are smaller than defensive lineman and linebackers, but quarterbacks are usually pretty big guys too though. Most qbs range between 6’1-6’6 and like 220lbs to 250lbs depending on the qb. All I know is huge guys get seriously hurt playing football, I don’t want to see a woman get walloped and be crippled. These players tackled her, but they didn’t really lay into like I see football players usually do. I watch football and pretty knowlegable about it and I just think this is a bad idea. A woman can show equality in many different ways, but putting oneself in a very physical game like football amongst men, is asking for her to get kiled and is something I and most people don’t want to happen or see of course.

    • I don’t think that anyone should be denied equal opportunity to try something because of their sex. But I also know that there are biological differences between women and men so that women are better at certain types of sports than men: sports that involve balance, flexibility, and endurance, for instance. Of course, I think that men should be able to have opportunities to do sports that women are better at, on average, too.

      You could be right that she could get seriously hurt. But men, as you say, also get seriously hurt. I know a quarterback at Stanford who had to quit football because it was damaging his brain. And he’s not the only quarterback with that problem. I really don’t think tackle football is good for anyone.

  6. yeah, well men can get seriously hurt. A woman could get killed getting hit by such massive men. There are biological differences and women and men shouldn’t be playing against each other in contact sports. Bowling and nascar is another story, but definitely not contact sports.

  7. And the sexualization of the camera shots and context is probably because a majority of camera persons are men. I always found it amusing in games or shows of live comedians performing, there would always be a camera shot to the audience. And there’d always be a camera shot to women who just happen to be hot, or pretty. I call it the hot girl shot ha. And it always made it obvious to me like “yep, the camera holder is definitely a guy” ha. I see that on many tv shows that have an audience, a shot might be of a couple, but its many times a couple which the woman is good looking. It makes me wonder if more women were camera users durinng sporting events or just as many women, if you’d see more camera shots of guy’s bodies in sports or shots of good looking guys in the audience for live comedy shows, etc. Or if women would take objective shots of men and women. It would priobably be more objective shots, but I don’t know for sure.

    • Yeah, and male directors may be having an effect too.

      Because women and men both internalize the culture, female directors and camera operators may still be less likely to zero in on attractive men.

  8. When we are watching women play sports for some odd reason we find it okay to judge their body and appearance. Even though that has nothing to do with how well they are playing the sport Women playing sports is not taken seriously and we lack having women in pro sports. Women are always seen as the cheerleaders for the most part when associating them with sports. Seeing women in pro sports, sports that are televised, is really rare than when dealing with men. With men in sports you have football (Super bowl), baseball (The World Series), etc and they are far less likely to be sexualized like women playing volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, etc. For women it is not about how well they are playing but how they look and how much in shape they are as they play. It tends to come up but why is that exactly? It has nothing to do with her skill and/or talent; it goes to show how we as a society degrade women just because they are women when dealing with athletics/sports.

  9. I have never noticed how women’s beach volleyball pictures all consisted of body shots until this article. I typically hear about how women were the tiniest amount of clothing for beach volleyball while men are practically completely covered! It is rare to see a beach volleyball player wearing a one piece but men can wear a long-sleeved shirt and no one would notice. The work of Nate Jones is very clever and effectively gets the point across! The way women’s beach volleyball pictures are taking is absolutely demeaning, pointless to the sport, and awful. This is yet another prime example of how unfortunately, women are not taken seriously in the sports world (probably the world in general).
    This article reminds me of controversy of women on Sports Illustrated covers. Women featured on the covers are mostly models, not female athletes. Athletes that do appear on the cover are often depicted in a sexualized manner in their sport (Lindsey Vonn for example).

  10. Weter’s comment – “But the bigger thing for me is obviously for little girls to see they can do everything just like little boys can.” So why isn’t the playing field equal – why can’t boys be as free as girls want to be? Everyone gets the girl trying to play on the PGA tour (btw – I would love to be able to hilt like a girl if that meant hitting like Lexi Thompson, and some others!), or the NFL, etc.

    Why can’t boys show emotion, wear color, or silk, have their hair long w/o being called “girly” or “Sissy”. Is that the measure of what we thing of girls – if you show weakness – you are a girl.

    Not so much – but it is the perception!

  11. The main reason that women sports are shot from the more sexual or provocative stand point is simply because in our society it very hard to find any thing that aren’t viewed from the male point of view. In a society that would have an equal and open point of view we would probably see more provocative shots of men and not just women. In our society it is more likely that women don’t have a problem looking at other women being objectified for profit for a number of reasons such as: 1.) Is this what my boyfriend needs me to look like for me to be sexy, 2.) I need to be strong and sexy like these women before a man will take me serious, 3.) Simply what does she have that I don’t and 4.) the fact that they just want to watch a great sporting event. Don’t get me me wrong I know that not all women feel this way but when the male point of view skews the prospective of what is being shown on TV we tend to get conditioned. In the same since as a guy who is watching this we tend to learn that objectifying women for profit and pleasure is normal and that a lot of times the women in the lives are suppose to like it just as much

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