Friday, July 5, 2013

Using Sex to Sell the Maccabiah Games

As the famous saying goes, "Sex sells." And sex, especially female sexuality, is used to sell virtually every product under the sun, including products that pertain to the sun itself. (Like sunscreen.)

So it was hardly shocking to discover that sex was being used to advertise the broadcast of the upcoming Maccabiah Games (think Jewish Olympics) in Israel. My friend Laura sent me a screen grab of this ad that appeared in her feed right next to an article I posted about misogyny in media. Facebook's ad algorithm apparently has a sense of humor.

Here it is:

Who doesn't play tennis in her bikini?

I don't necessarily object to all sexy depictions of women in ads and media at large. Women enjoy looking sexy for themselves (and for men and for other women). Being and looking sexy isn't inherently bad.

Yet this ad irks me. Athleticism can be very sexy and showing a female tennis player, toned and the already short tennis outfits, would've been attractive. It certainly would've fallen under the "sex sells" heading. But if they had chosen such an image, I wouldn't have been bothered and I doubt my friend would've thought to save the image and send it to me.

What troubles me about this picture is that sports, while celebrating the human form, are also supposed to celebrate skill and athleticism. When I look at the above photo, I see an underwear model pretending to play a game of tennis. (Perhaps that is a picture of an actual tennis player. If so, I stand corrected though my objections remain unchanged.) I highly doubt that an ad featuring a man would've gone this route--using a scantily clad male model to "swing" a racket.

Aside from validating the aforementioned "truism" this ad reminds people that the most important aspect of a female tennis player's game (or any female athlete for that matter) is her physical appearance, not the skill that she wields with the racket. A gorgeous female tennis player in a normal tennis outfit depicts a "whole" person--a body, ambition, skill, guts, and determination. 


me me said...

Not even an Israeli (or Jewish...)

Dvora Meyers said...

You're right. I didn't do much sleuthing into the photo. Thanks!