Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Celebrating Sex or Talent .. or Both?

I first saw the "sexy" video of Michelle Jenneke a few days ago when I was between patients at work. Sometimes I click on random "Yahoo News" videos to pass the five minutes of waiting: one of my guilty pleasures! Conscious of the other practitioners and patients at the clinic, I turned the volume off before I played the video. At first glance, I observed a beautiful, spirited 19 year old girl, warming up for her race. What was striking to me about the video was, not only how stunning a woman Michelle Jenneke is, but also how much she smiled while she was both warming up and coming to the end of her race: the smile was plastered from cheek to cheek before she reached the finish line! In addition to her absolute and obvious joy in the experience of her sport, I noticed her complete focus and strength throughout the entire 100 metres of hurtles. It is refreshing to see a woman so talented, so focused, so committed to training and competing and so blatantly blissful in the experience of racing. With all of these positive things to focus on about Michelle Jenneke's performance, I find it interesting that she is being celebrated for solely the sexiness of her warm up.

In the many articles depicting the particular roles and talents of the various riders in the Tour de France 2012, I've seen glorious pictures of beautiful male cyclists moving through picturesque French landscapes. Interestingly and surprisingly though, I have not seen any photos of Bradly Wiggins (the winner of the 2012 TDF ) with captions referencing how sexy he looks in his yellow jersey and bib shorts. Perhaps this is because Mr. Wiggins looks more goofy than sexy - but THAT is beside the point!

As female sport has become popularized, I have noticed more focus on the sexiness of the athletes than the grandeur of their accomplishments. Although this disappoints me to some extent, the silver lining comes with the recognition of females in sport. Part of being a woman is being beautiful. If this fact leads to more women in sport obtaining media exposure, I suppose it is a start. Perhaps this will lead to the eventual appreciation of their talents opposed to just their appearances.

**To fully appreciate Michelle Jenneke's hurdle performance, I would suggest turning your computer's volume off!**

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