Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sport/Fitness: Sexy Athletes?

I may have discussed this previously, but thought it deserved some discussion during Sports & Fitness Week as well.

With the Olympics going on there is a lot of discussion over the women's beach volleyball players wearing bikinis, and if it is appropriate. I am going to say yes. For a few reasons.

First, while I know there is a lot of ogling, and some of the sport's appeal in the US has to do with the skimpy outfits, something we forget is that in the ancient Olympics everyone performed nude. That is just the way it was. Athletic competition, in its most basic form, is a sexual display. Many games are close analogs for survival skills, be it hunting, fighting, or fleeing. The better a person is a sport, the better they likely are at said survival skills. So, while the bikinis may be a bit titillating, the real reason we find athletes sexy is because our primitive brains tell us they are sexy. "He/She is fast and strong, therefore a good provider," or "this person possesses genetic traits that need to be carried to our species' offspring," is what our reptilian brain is saying. Though, the reptilian brain is not that sophisticated, so it comes out as "I want to bone this person."

Second, I think there is something to be said about body image here. The image above is of Spain's Elsa Baquerizo. She is not wafer thin, and does not fit into the typical media interpretation of sexy. She has a thick torso, legs and butt. All muscular, yes, but not what we are told is sexy. Personally, I think it is very positive to show the human body in ways that are not Photoshoped, and at what many might consider unflattering. For another example, China's Zhang Xi:

Now, I will concede that women are typically less covered than men, save in a few events (diving, most notably). I think this comes from two or three factors. First, we have a myth that women do not ogle men, and men do not want to watch anything where men's bodies are on display (unless they are swimming). Second, and this is from a small sample of one; the wife said the men's beach volleyball team should be shirtless but "I don't want to look at plum smugglers." Third, there is a fear of the homoerotic basis for sports fandom. As with women, if not more-so, male athletics are 100% sexual display, and most sports fans seem to be men. It is one thing to get into a guy wearing shoulder pads and a helmet, and another thing to be able to tell if he is circumcised or not. Below, Great Britain's Jack Laugher.

When it comes down to it, I will tell you that if I was as fit as most any of the Olympic athletes, this would not be a blog about RPGs and movies, it would be me in various sates of undress every single day. Sexual desire and sport are two sides of a coin. You become strong and powerful to survive and to get laid, and despite your personal genetic superiority (or lack thereof) your reptilian brain still says, "we need to mix our genes with theirs." These athletes are not sexy because of skimpy outfits, they are sexy because they are powerful people who had awesome luck at the genetic roulette wheel. Frankly, I say strip everyone down. Maybe we would not have the degree of obesity and eating disorders in the first world if we saw more nude athletes instead of heroin-chic models and guys with distorted musculature?

1 comment:

T. Roger Thomas said...

Hey, supposedly the original Olympics that took place in ancient Greece involved athletes competing in the nude. By that standard the modern games are fairly tame

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