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It’s a battle female surfers have waged since the start of professional surfing – to be taken seriously for their skills on the waves, not their sex appeal.
Like other sports, the sexualizing of female athletes is a hotly-debated topic. Add bikini-clad women to the equation, urged to wear their sponsors’ itsy-bitsy bottoms, and it can be a delicate line between sport and marketing.
The World Surf League, which governs the top competitive surfers, set out some sexual harassment guidelines for employees as competitions got underway in Australia, according to an article by Stab Magazine this week.
“No inappropriate jokes. No leering at colleagues or competitors. Absolute gender equality in all parts of the operation (except competitive winnings),” the Stab article reads.
“All cinematographers have been instructed to exercise discretion while shooting the women’s heats. Cinematographers must be careful to be zoomed out during bottom turns or duck dives. A live broadcast means there’s no time for editing so all camera operators need to use common sense when shooting.”
Girls in skimpy swimwear will have wider shots than those wearing boardshorts, who will be featured larger on the screen than those in bikinis, the article reads.
Surfing and sexism
For some female surfers, small bikinis and skimpy wear are part of their persona, adding to their social media following and sponsorship.
But with the #metoo movement, and the WSL appointment last year of a female CEO, Sophie GoldSchmidt, the tide may be finally turning for female surfers.
It’s not the first time sexual equality has made headlines in the sport. Women still make far less in prize money than their male counterparts.
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment