Back in June, surfwear brand Roxy released a teaser video featuring its new Roxy Pro Biarritz spokesperson, showing her only from the back:
The surfer has since been revealed to be five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore.
Of the video, Macquarie University Professor and advisor to the Australian Sports CommissionCatharine Lumby said, "There is nothing wrong with celebrating fit athletic bodies, I'm all for it, but this goes way beyond. It is really just very voyeuristic."
A spokesman for the Australian Sports Commission said "The ASC considers it has a responsibility to ensure that images of female athletes are positive and are not sexualised. We discourage promotional activities that lead to female athletes being exploited."
So which is it? Blatant voyeuristic sexualization of female surfers? Or a simple celebration of beauty?It's a reasonable point. Pro athletes, male and female alike, are often objectified in popular media because their finely-tuned bodies are both aesthetically pleasing and motivational. But have you ever seen an ad featuring a male athlete with such a single-minded focus on his rump?
That's the problem I see here. Don't get me wrong. Ms. Gilmore has a really nice bum. But to make that anonymous part of her the whole point of being interested in the video — rather than her athletic achievements and accolades —really doesn't help the perception of women in sport. Especially when male sports journalists still feel entitled to comment on whether elite female athletes are "lookers" or not.
Update: There's already a parody.