Foul Play: Edition 2
The latest Golf Digest features golf pro Lexi Thompson on the cover. Excellent, you think, that’s a shot in the arm for women’s sport.
Before you get too excited, take a look. That’s Thompson in the bottom left hand corner, naked from the waist up save for a strategically placed gym towel.
Of the three women in this montage, she’s the only one that actually plays golf for a living. Paulina Gretzky appeared on the cover last year by virtue of being engaged to a golfer. I have no idea who the woman in the bikini is.
Still, magazine chairman Jerry Tarde is pretty chuffed with this latest effort.
“We’ve come a long way from a year ago when the LPGA condemned our choice of Paulina Gretzky (and Holly Sonders in 2013) as the cover images for Golf Digest’s annual fitness issue,” he says. “Mea culpa, ladies.”
At this time of year, the first thing you do when you read a comment like that is check it’s not an April Fool’s joke. It’s not. Jerry Tarde is for real.
Of course, this cover could not have taken place without Thompson’s consent and participation. But I’ll eat my laptop if the side-boob was her idea.
Golf Digest is also quick to point out last month’s cover featured a shirtless Rory McIlroy, reinvented as Michelangelo’s David. Which, considering how male players are typically depicted in the magazine, including McIlroy, is rather convenient timing, don’t you think?
The sexualisation and subordination of women is one risk factor, among many, associated with sexual assault perpetrated by professional sportsmen.
That’s not to say one magazine cover drives a person to abuse. But it’s one drop in a deep and murky ocean.
Last month, I started a section on this blog called Foul Play, to document inappropriate acts against women and girls by men associated with sport.
It’s not an area I was looking to get into but the number of sports-related assaults turning up in my news feed each week was impossible to ignore.
Regrettably, there’s no shortage of incidents for the second edition, as you can see below. If you know of others, please pass them on.
Better still, why not put the world’s top female top golfer on your cover? There are few more inspiring stories in golf, or any sport, than that of Lydia Ko.
Or is it because she’s 17 and not even your magazine would stoop so low as to ask her to take her clothes off?