Us­ing Sex to Sell:

Curl - - Over Exposed -

So, now that we have a lit­tle bit of his­tor­i­cal con­text, I can bet­ter ex­plain how sec­ond-wave fem­i­nists dif­fer from many younger women in their re­sponse to the de­ci­sions by fe­male ath­letes to pose in ways that em­pha­sise their sex­u­al­ity over their hard- earned ath­lete sta­tus.

Sec­ond-wave fem­i­nists typ­i­cally take of­fense to the overtly sex­u­al­ized dis­plays of fe­male ath­letes. For ex­am­ple, Varda Burstyn, au­thor of mul­ti­ple books on women’s rights and sport, ar­gued that as the prod­uct of “a back­lash against women” such im­ages di­min­ish their power, triv­i­al­ize their strength, and put them in their sex­ual place”. Donna Lopi­ano, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Women’s Sports Foun­da­tion in the US, also ar­gued that, “any ex­po­sure in a sports mag­a­zine that min­i­mizes ath­letic achieve­ment and skill and em­pha­sizes the fe­male ath­lete as a sex ob­ject is in­sult­ing and de­grad­ing”.

In con­trast, third-wave fem­i­nists rec­og­nize that some women are mak­ing con­scious de­ci­sions about the dis­play of their bod­ies and are not nec­es­sar­ily ex­ploited or ma­nip­u­lated. Ac­cord­ing to Les­lie Hey­wood and Shari L. Dworkin, au­thors of Built to Win: The Fe­male Ath­lete as Cul­tural Icon, rep­re­sen­ta­tions of women’s bod­ies coded as ath­letic can work to “re­deem fe­male sex­u­al­ity and make it vis­i­ble as an as­ser­tion of

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