Widespread protests have greeted an exhibition match to be played by 32 women from the US Lingerie Football League at Allphones Arena today. Names like ‘Allphones Arena’ and other venues such as ‘Centrebet Stadium‘ might give you a clue that the single minded pursuit of profit motivates football leagues with little consideration for anything else. Sporting ideals of fair play and playing for the love of the game have taken a back seat to the rabid hunt for $$$ for some time. Should we really be surprised that a cynical exercise in promotion such as ‘lingerie football’ is about to take hold in Australia? Feminists in the 60s and 70s may have burned their bras; women in this century happily wear little else to provide a spectacle for television cameras and provide a boost in ratings. Germaine Greer would be turning in her grave if she was dead.
Perhaps we should be more surprised that anti discrimination laws in this country don’t cover this type of exploitation. While there might be women queueing up to join the Lingerie Football League in Australia, there is no telling how far this type of spectacle sets back the cause for the status of women. Commentators on programs such as 9’s Wide World of Sports might assure us that players in the lingerie league go through a rigorous selection process and that football prowess and athletic ability are the most important selection criteria; but they aren’t even fooling themselves let alone anyone else. Players are reportedly contractually obliged to accept ”accidental nudity”; we need not be in any doubt about the motives behind lingerie football (not that anyone actually was).
If anti discrimination laws in this country actually mean anything, why isn’t a male counterpart for female lingerie football made to be a requirement? A Male ‘Y-front football league’ would surely provide just as interesting a spectacle and would certainly provide some balance, even if not in the same league as a ratings draw card.
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