The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘Sport’

Damir Dokic: Hitting Jelena Was “For Her Sake”

Posted by Clem Bastow on May 7, 2009

I’m sure I’m not the only person who was pleased to see Jelena Dokic’s comeback (and to have her come back to Australia) at this year’s Australian Open, particularly in light of her treatment at the hands of her father and “coach”, Damir; to see her remove herself from that situation and go on to professional and personal triumph was inspiring.

Well, now that Jelena has recently told of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father in addition to the bellowing and belittling that came to be known as Damir’s horrible trademark, naturally Damir has had to have his two cents, since he evidently lives in a magical world where violent men actually have a right of reply when their abuse is revealed:

“If I was ever a little bit more aggressive towards Jelena, it was for her sake,” Mr Dokic told the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.

In the latest Sport & Style magazine, published in The Age this week, the tennis star spoke in detail about the trauma her father caused and how she fled her family home in October 2002.

“When I was young, I was beaten by my parents,” Mr Dokic said, “and I am now thankful to them for that, because that helped me to become the right person. Anyway, is there any parent who didn’t do that at least once or twice — of course, for the sake of their children?”

That’s right, Damir – what frightened young girl hasn’t been beaten by and bellowed at by her father in order to keep her hitting those aces? Obviously Damir’s rantings are the sort of quote-fests the tabloids live for, but sometimes I question the value of allowing known abusers to speak freely about their crimes in this manner. I’m inclined to think that stories like these send an unfortunate message to women (or indeed, anyone) who’ve been abused, in essence that what they’ve suffered is terrible… but you know, we ought to let their abuser share their side of the story, too. What are your thoughts?


Posted in Celebrity, Family, Media Watch, Sport, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Misogyny in Football? Never! At least not according to North Melbourne…

Posted by caitlinate on April 8, 2009

So when I said I was going to stop reading The Age I guess I wasn’t really going to.

Late last year members of the North Melbourne Football Club posted a video on the internet. In the last few days it has found it’s way onto youtube and the eyes of journalists from The Age. The four-minute video featured a rubber rooster named Little Boris depicting sex acts on the carcass of a real chicken. The backing track is ‘Move Bitch’ by Ludacris.

Throughout the video that was on YouTube, Boris the toy chicken has a condom on its head and is manipulated to look as if it is penetrating the carcass of a real chicken that also features throughout the film. The final scenes show the real chicken carcass being hurled against a wall and run over by a van – before the rubber chicken returns and simulates fornication again

I haven’t seen the video (it’s been taken down) but the original copy from The Age, that I read several hours ago, stated that the carcass was clearly meant to represent a woman. I can’t really comment on the contents of the video – though I’ll believe it contained offensive stuff – but it’s the response from the club that concerns me.

When I read the original response from the club they were all focused not on how terrible it was that the video had been made at all but how bad it was that the video had gotten out and become available to the public.

“I’m furious to say the least that it’s gotten out though I haven’t had the advantage of seeing it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Sport, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

(Young) Women We Love: “Sammy Sumo”

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 13, 2008

No doubt sports fans will have read this morning of Australia’s first medal in the sport of sumo wrestling for over fifteen years, won by Gold Coast teenager Samantha-Jane Stacey – dubbbed “Sammy Sumo” by her friends – who not only won Silver at the World Sumo Championships, but did so with a badly sprained ankle!

Australian Sumo Federation president Katrina Watt spoke to The Bulletin from the championships in Estonia yesterday and said the result was fantastic.

“We are so impressed with the result and she’s only 14 so she has four more years in the junior division … maybe next time we’ll hear Advance Australia Fair,” she said.

“We haven’t had a medal since 1992 so we are so happy.”

Top work, Sammy!

Posted in Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Beach-Fest: Volleyball’s Uniform Disparity Strikes Again

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 19, 2008

Even the most casual viewer of the past few Olympics would likely have noticed the vast difference between men’s and women’s uniforms at the Games, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the beach volleyball field. The women wear tiny bikini-esque get-ups while the men dress in roomy Eddie Vedder-esque “big shorts” and a basketball singlet. If it’s so hot and sweaty on the beach (which is traditionally the excuse given for the ladies’ micro uniforms), how on earth can the blokes stand the heat?

Here are some of Sunday Mail blogger Clementine Ford’s thoughts on the topic:

[L]et’s not be fooled here. The sheer skimpiness of the bottoms themselves has nothing to do with player comfort. If it did, men would be required to wear similar outfits. Clearly, the swathes of material dudes practically bathe in while out on the court are doing nothing to hinder performance.

The bikini uniform is a marketing strategy that revolves around T & A. It’s what’s helped propel BV to the number 3 of most watched Olympics sports. Let’s ignore for a moment the clear violation of everything scientists have taught us about skin cancer. For better or worse, beach volleyball is an elite sport with hard working athletes who train tirelessly to be the best in the world. It is not (or should not be) a glorified skin fest whose only purpose is to titillate a drooling (mostly male) public.

Disappointingly – and yet, somewhat unsurprisingly – the blog was then flooded with comments of the “you’re just jealous” variety (she details some of the worst over at her non-work blog) as stunningly original critics (and, presumably, beach volleyball fans) accused Ford of being “jealous” of the players.

But when even Today Tonight is asking what’s up with the teeny bikinis, surely something’s got to give?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blog Watch, body image, Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Catherine Deveny On The Olympics

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 13, 2008

I have been trying to put my finger on just what it is about Olympics madness that has been troubling me, and The Dawn Chorus’ inaugural Woman We Love, Catherine Deveny, has helpfully expressed it for me in today’s Age with her piece, “Taking A Sporting Break From The Great Issues Of The Day“:

Talkback is chockers with irate people still phoning in at what’s been called the sucked-ice-block fashion fiasco. What happened to the green and gold, the Akubras and the japaras? Wouldn’t the girls have looked nicer in skirts? Yet I’ve heard no talkback about the human rights abuses in Tibet, China’s environmental vandalism or the world just swallowing hook, line and sinker the Chinese press release about modern, free China.

It’s all just “Was the Beijing opening ceremony better than ours?” “Did you see that Chinese Nikki Webster? Sure she was cute, but it was our idea first. Maybe we can sue,” and “Do you think Stephanie Rice and her boyfriend will get back together?”

I had to laugh. Good on Stephanie Rice, but when I watched Seven News run a picture of the golden girl with the headline “Rice Cracker” I spat my long noodle chicken entrail soup at the telly. I thought they may open the news with “Ah soo, Chinese, Japanese, look at these dirty knees. Rovely news about Stephanie Lice. China! Dlagons and the Gleat Wall of China.”

Thank you, Catherine, for going there while everyone else is dicking themselves over how good the ‘Water Cube’ looks and how amazing the computer generated fireworks were.

Posted in Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

So Does This Make Every Other Single Pit-Lane Altercation Between Drivers A “Dick Fight”?

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 22, 2008

When I read in the paper about Indy drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno having a trackside argument, I rolled my eyes, because I could tell exactly what the media would brand it as: a bitch fight (or a cat fight, for the PG papers). Here’s the LA Times’ lamo description of the events (you can watch them here – and just a warning, don’t read the comments if you know what’s good for you):

It ain’t World Championship Wrestling, but it’s kinda fun to watch Danica Patrick confront Indy racing’s other female driver, Milka Duno, about being a slowpoke, old lady driver during Saturday’s Honda Indy 200 practice session.

According to reports, Patrick marched over to the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing pit stall after Saturday morning’s practice session to complain that Duno did not let faster cars – including Patrick’s – get past her.

Yeah, “kinda fun” – because gee whiz, aren’t those lady drivers a cute little novelty! And it’s not as though the LA Times was alone in their cringeworthy coverage of the two drivers having words; a sampling of headlines and blog titles includes “Cat fight in IndyCar pits“, “Danica Patrick fight with buxom Milka Duno” (yes, “buxom”), and “Who wants a Super Soaker fight between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno?

This pisses me off for a number of reasons, but number one is because of the rampant sexism (duh).

As a motorsport fan, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen drivers have it out with each other on pit straight, or after a crash, or anywhere, really. V8 SuperCar driver Mark Skaife, in particular, is never shy when it comes to giving another driver a piece of his mind. Drivers chuck tanties when they end up in the gravel, they whinge if their pit team doesn’t work fast enough, they sook when they don’t end up at pole position, etc etc. There is no such thing, really, as a laid back motorsports driver, no matter what sex!

In other words, there is nothing special or extraordinary about this “fight” in motorsports terms – but because it’s two female drivers arguing with each other, it’s “news”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Behind Every Good Man…

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on July 19, 2008

Did anyone else find the “exclusive” cover story in today’s Age more than a little cringeworthy? I certainly did…

“Tour of duty: Cadel’s wife endures an anxious cycle of highs and lows”

Yes I know it is the Tour de France… and perhaps Lane thought it would be interesting to tackle the race from a ‘different’ more ‘human’ angle by interviewing Australian cyclist, Cadel Evans wife, Chiara Passerini… BUT really, puhlease… aside from this story being less than front page newsworthy… It is a shame that in a rare occasion that women in sport actually appear on the front cover of any major newspaper (or throughout) we are presented not with an actual woman excelling in sport BUT an attractive WIFE of a man excelling in sport.

Whilst it is very sweet to read about Chiara Passerini expressing her concerns for her husbands well being in what can apparently be a very dangerous race, I feel that this type of article only acts to reinforce the age-old stereotype of the ‘good’ woman/wife behind the ‘GREAT’ man.

Posted in Media Watch, Relationships, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Little Miss Abs

Posted by Mel Campbell on July 18, 2008

Today, the first news headline that caught my eye was this Telegraph (UK) effort. After I had recovered from that odd bit of anthropomorphism, I encountered this even more alarming headline: “Mum defends 10-year-old bodybuilder”.

(Picture: Daily Telegraph)

Maughan Wellham, of Thornton, NSW, is 10 and competed last weekend in the Ms Fitness Australia category of the International Natural Bodybuilding Association’s All Female Classic competition, held in Melbourne. She was the only child in the event, so they had to invent a new category for her, “Ms Fitness Kidz”. (Note the wacky zpelling.)

She’s nowhere near as creepy as the terrifying and notorious child bodybuilder Richard Sandrak, but child bodybuilders are always creepy because they superimpose an ‘adult’ conception of the body – deliberately honed, trained, hardened – onto a child’s body that we prefer to think of as innocent, unformed and in flux.

In fact, our culture’s ways of thinking about children’s bodies are severely limited. There’s the child prodigy’s body that inspires awe at its feats and moral panic surrounding pushy parents or coaches, the sick, disabled or injured child’s body that inspires sympathy and righteous anger, and the obese child’s body that inspires disgust and moral panic surrounding ignorant or helpless parents. Then, worst of all, there’s the sexualised child’s body that inspires a fervidly imagined paedophilic gaze and moral panic surrounding sexual precocity.

Maughan has been caught up in these clumsy ways of talking about kids’ bodies; just as at the tournament, there isn’t really a category for her. Her mum, along with event organiser Tony Lanciano, insist that it’s not precocious, creepy, unhealthy or symptomatic of bad parenting for a 10-year-old to be doing this: it was Maughan’s idea to compete and she trains for athleticism (the prodigious body) rather than for appearance (the sexualised body). “We’re not telling girls to start heavyweight lifting. It’s about fun and fitness,” says Lanciano.

Australian culture holds the virtues of sport to be so self-evident that we can bathe even the most unsavoury things (gang rape, drug use, domestic violence) in an acceptable glow if athletes are involved. But I think the issue was more neatly skewered by National Amateur Body Builders Association president Graeme Lancefield: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in body image, Sport | Tagged: , , , , | 19 Comments »

And They Wonder Why Female Attendance At Motorsport Events Is Down

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 9, 2008

If you read today’s online edition of The Northern Territory News, you could be forgiven for thinking the entire newspaper was being sponsored by a tits-and-arse-blast – this gallery ad for the V8 Supergirls appears on the front page, the news page, the sports page, the entertainment page and the ‘Travel NT’ page:

In my “let’s explore third wave feminism” phase I entered the V8 Supergirls contest and wrote an article on my experiences, and the potted highlights include getting hives from excess fake tanner use, having to keep that sunny smile going while standing under the flight path of an F1-11 going down pit-straight (and not being allowed to wear ear-plugs), and getting changed in a flimsy Porta-Cabin in the middle of a field full of race-fans. Apart from meeting some genuinely interesting women and getting to watch the race for free, it was a pretty awful experience all ’round, the nadir being ushered into the private boxes to circulate like concubines. I distinctly recall the surprised look on the face of the Grid crew of “my” driver (i.e. the driver whose name and number I held on my ‘lollipop’) when I was actually able to discuss motorsport.

Really, stuff like this is hugely alienating to female motorsport fans. Not only that, it perpetuates the idea that the only role for women at the track is as voiceless sex object, when there are in fact women really kicking goals both in the pit crews and behind the wheel (witness Indy 300 winner Danica Patrick).

And, really, NT News, we don’t need to be alerted to your “phwooarr, cop a load of her machinery!” gallery five times when we’re trying to read the actual news.

Posted in Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Meet Justin Gimelstob, Tennis’ Latest Sexist Pig

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 30, 2008

Let us introduce you to Justin Gimelstob, a former pro tennis player from the US who recently retired and has been appointed Players’ Representative to the ATP board. Here are some of the delightful things he had to say about an upcoming mixed-doubles tournament he is competing in, amongst other things:

According to The Times of London, Gimelstob said of Kournikova: “Hate is a very strong word – I just despise her to the maximum level just below hate.”

“I’m going to serve it right at the body, about 128 (mph), right into her midriff.

“If she’s not crying by the time she comes off court then I did not do my job.”

Nice, huh?

The Times also reported Gimelstob as having described Kournikova as having “a great body but her face is a five”, and of the women’s tour, “There are fewer lesbians now because they’re all Russian chicks. And there’s some other cute ones out there.”

Fortunately, the awesome Serena Williams was around to set straight:

“Being pro-women’s rights, I just think we’ve come farther than to be referred to like this,” she said. Williams.

And that’s an understatement. Hopefully after offering that soundbite, she then left and FedExed a roundhouse kick to Gimelstob’s nuts.

(Thanks to reader Jessica for the heads up!)

Posted in Sport | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »