Body Images in Sport: Instrument or Object?

As a long time sports fan, I have become very familiar with media outlets such as ESPN. While I appreciate what ESPN does, I can’t help but notice that they are very similar to the rest of the sports media in regards to how they can turn the female athletes into sex symbols. Women in sports tend to be noticed more for what they are wearing and how they look, rather than for their performance. This can be seen in ESPN’s Body Issue from 2012.

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While there are both men and women who are seen in action shots, there are far more women who are just posing.
78% of the men posing were active, while only 52% of the women were in an active pose.

90% of men had at least one active pose in their slideshow, whereas only 46% of the women did.
The purpose of these shoots is to show the athletic body in action, to show off the instrument that is their body, not the object that is their body. While I do appreciate what ESPN is trying to do here, I think it should be done more equally between all athletes, showing off the instrumental side rather than the objected one.

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