Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Danica Patrick at the Daytona 500: Trying to draw the line of sex and sport

All that is right and at the same time...
to her, wrong with female professional sports.


Danica Patrick is at the Daytona 500 and is racing full time in NASCAR for the first time this year.  Will she be good? I don't know.  Will she win Daytona? Has a shot I guess.  One thing I do know for sure is that a statement she made during 500 media day rubbed me the wrong way.  She talked about how it isn't fair that if there is a pretty female athlete immediately the media talks more about the sexiness of the athlete than their athletic talents.

That annoyed me.

Not because she doesn't have a point.  It is just that it is her making the point.  This is the same woman that has made 50 billion Go Daddy! commercials, (ps..thanks Go Daddy for the web address...looove youuu!) in which she is usually in varying stages of undress and spitting out sexual innuendos like they're going out of style. This is the same person who takes advantage of every opportunity to do a photo shoot, again in varying stages of undress, and has used those very looks that the media is so attracted to to make herself very rich without much of the money coming from winning very many races doing her actual job.  Yet, hey media, talk about racing only please not the other stuff that she is much more visible doing!

So when she says, "If there's a pretty girl, it seems like [reporters] don't know how to describe her except being sexy.  That has such a negative connotation.  You don't frame it like that for a guy, or even talk about it."  I'll interject there, ah...depends on the male athlete.  I think Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham would beg to differ, but go ahead Danica continue, "But it seems like for female athletes that are pretty, they only know how to describe them in a sexual way."  She says all of this whilst wearing Go Daddy! apparrel, so if you were to go to that site, and look at their videos of their commercials you wouldn't be told, "Danica Patrick is a skilled race car driver," but instead shown half naked ladies, and at times a half naked Danica as well.  So what message are you sending Danica?

"I don't care, but I wonder why we can't talk about it in a different way and use other words for it.  It makes it somewhat negatively twisted.  Discuss it in some way without the word sex in it," Danica says.  

Not going to happen unless you stop taking off your clothes and start winning races.  That is the just the reality.  The other reality for female athletes is that they don't get paid as much as male athletes within their respective sports (except for Danica, if she wins a race she gets the same purse any other driver would) that are all female.  So with that they have to go out and take advantage of the demand that is out there from slobbering sports rubes wanting to see them near or fully naked or in body paint in SI.  It is a vicious cycle.  The women want to be taken seriously, but then need to be sexy to get the big pay off but then once they have that pay off they want the focus to be not the sex but on the sport and around and around we go.  Danica is the perfect example of this quandary for female athletes.  

There is no great answer at this point, and you certainly wouldn't be expecting a great answer to that issue on the blog that was the official blog for the local lingerie football team.  A league that is built on exploiting female athletes for their sexuality, but filled with players wanting to just play a sport but begrudgingly knowing that in order to play professional female football on any type of large stage they'll have to do it in lingerie for now.  

As for Danica, I personally am rooting for her, I feel like much of her frustration is stemming from a lack of success winning in her racing career, which has led to much less attention on the racing, and much more attention on the bikini wearing.  Anna Kournikova can talk to Danica all day about how the less you win, the more you move towards model instead of athlete.  Yet, even with success, if you are an attractive gal you are going to have many opportunities to flaunt that sexuality for profit to the rubes out there that don't care what you do on the field or on the track and just want to see you with no clothes on.  

So in the end there is nothing wrong with Danica doing what she does off the track.  In fact it is awesome that she can make so much money really doing things that are just PG-13 and not R.  The only issue is when she then goes and complains about the very thing making her rich and keeps her in the media's eye, she will turn some people on her.  So as much as Danica Patrick's story can be one of what is wrong with female professional athletics, it also has been and could be even more, a story of what has changed and what is right.  If she wins on Sunday she could be winning both on and off the track and that will be something no other woman has ever done in NASCAR and she'll have everyone talking about her racing not her raciness. 

2 comments :

  1. More pictures please

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  2. I would have to say Danica is in need of a reality check. She needs to decide on modeling which she seems to do pretty well or racing which is not going too well.

    She needs to stop complaining and choose. Make the media shove-it by racing and winning or just quit racing and continue to watch the money role in.

    Either way I don't give a dang, just live with a decision and stop complaining

    Thor Daddy

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