The lovely Lindsey Vonn is to be honoured by appearing on Sports Illustrated‘s Feb. 8, 2010 cover, but Women Talk Sports is concerned this might be due in part to her beauty and not fully her athletic ability…
Over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women.
When females are featured on the cover of SI, they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action–and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception.
However there aren’t many Billie Jean Kings (29 yr. old woman defeated 55 yr. old man); few women can compete with men athletically. We watch in part because they’re lovely. Take Anna Kournikova: she was tremendously popular because of her beauty.
I might agree were Women Talk Sports complaining that Vonn is treated as a sex object and not as a lovely lady. But the core of the issue seems to instead be self-hating women at WTS who wish women were men.
E. R. Eddison‘s myth, written in 1944, perfectly reveals the value of feminine beauty:
Love moreover is reciprocal: on each side it has an active aspect and a passive: a masculine and a feminine. These are wed, and therefore intermingled: neither the masculine nor the feminine is ever pure. Nevertheless, in Him Power predominates (which is active and masculine), and, in Her, Beauty, (which is passive and feminine). There is God and Goddess. The Goddess I call Aphrodite, who is of Herself Beauty, both spiritual and physical.
There is a magic circle, so to speak, a Worm Ouroboros, in this divine loving: Eternal and omnipotent Love tastes delight directly caused by Her. He recognizes in the instrument of this delight (that is to say, in His Mistress) supreme Beauty. He realizes in one and the same moment that He is powerful over Her and holds Her at His mercy and by a violent antinomy, that His very power, the power of Omnipotence, is enslaved by this strengthless Beauty. In this double and paradoxical realization, He worships Her and Beauty in Her.
Aphrodite tastes the same delight as His, directly caused by Him. She recognizes in the instrument of this delight (that is to say, in Her lover) supreme power. She realizes in one and the same moment that Her Beauty compels worship from Him (that is to say, from Omnipotent Love), so that She experineces directly in Herself the experience of queening it over Omnipotence and by a violent antinomy, that this very Omnipotence is the eternal and only safeguard of Beauty and so of Her. In this double paradoxical realization, She gives Herself to Him, to that power in Him which She recognizes as divine. And, She finally realizes that Eternal and Omnipotent Love tastes the same delight as Hers, directly caused by Her. (And so on: the Worm’s tail into the Worm’s mouth)
There’s no need for steroids or Amazonian mutilation for women to acquire equality with male athletic ability. It is partly through superior beauty that women achieve “equality”, and thus refusal to acknowledge this beauty is sexist and should be offensive to women.
H/T: Yahoo News.
Btw, Eddison was inspired by the Homeric “Hymn to Aphrodite“.