Bartoli; Marion Bartoli, winner of the Wimbledon Singles title in 2013,
and victim of insufferable bullying by professionals and the social media's
public. John Inverdale sparked backlash when Radio 5 Live listeners heard: "Do you think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little, 'you're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and
Sadly, sexist remarks towards women’s physiques and features were something not uncommon surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sexist and oppressing remarks surrounded volleyball players, Rebecca Addlington and even Jessica
Ennis. The line I see that is so commonly crossed with sexist remarks are the opinions a professional individual often fails to gage as to what is and is not acceptable for a Nation to hear. Linking how attractive a person to how much
they deserve to win is perhaps morally debatable, but appreciating that some (men or women) are more attractive than others whether they be tennis players, celebrities or next door neighbors, is the norm. However, a professional such as Inverdale to consider such his bold personal opinion an acceptable comment to voice, is baffling.
A professional in any sector; in this case specifically athletes and those representative of the media, must take responsibility for the affect their actions and words have on their audiences. Part of the job as a professional
athlete means you are a role model for others, this should be seen as an privilege and opportunity to add meaning to your beliefs and do good by them. Part of the job of a media person is that your opinion or facts are received by
collective groups of people who rely on the said information to remain updated in many cases. In both incidents, there should be thought and care regarding the content of the messages that are sent out.
Athletes like Marion Bartoli, are immeasurable roles models for young girls and women who aspire to the athletic figure; toned, healthy and fresh. It is no secret that in the social media world that, athletic is the new skinny, and women have been spurred on by the empowering females who filled our screens over the summer of 2012, and are taking this image by force. The good athletes such as her are doing, should not be taken away from.
As a result of Inverdale’s irresponsible and cringe worthy comment on air, twitter users took to joining the bandwagon with comments I genuinely struggle to bring myself to repeat, such as “too ugly to rape”. Unsurprisingly, the accounts of the men that ‘tweeted’ these comments were shortly after, altered to private. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a "sports" commentator's job is to comment on the sports and the athlete's abilities, rather than to engage in the fantasies of what a dad may have told his daughter about her sex appeal to a gobby middle aged man. I am yet to hear Claire Balding or Sue Barker comment negatively or in a sexual manner on the features, apparel or physique of a male athlete. Long may I wait.
Those in a professional role who feel it is acceptable to vocalize sexist remarks about sportswomen simply baffle me. This case, like others has shown us that a part of society, reject sportswomen who don’t fit the sociological ideals of beauty, and that this therefore must mean their achievements are pale in comparison to others.
These amazing, determined and talented sportswomen, who represent their countries professionally, do nothing but continue to rise above the sexist, naïve and ignorant comments of males who sit there watching, and for that, I salute them. I hope the young aspiring girls out there are drawn to the achievements of these women, and not deterred by the sexist remarks of men. Any of those women have more respect for themselves, to be drawn to that type of personality, and that size of ego. Sports commentators such as this would do well to keep a civil and dignified tongue about them, and consider the consequences of their opinions that may not be shared by the greater public, will have.