While the world’s attention is focused on the Olympic Games in the face of the shocks of the covid outbreaks, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) sent a letter to the governing body of the meeting to express its concern about the prevailing sexism in the sports world.
The IFJ letter asked the International Olympic Committee to guarantee the safety and well-being of the competitors, as well as the journalists. In addition, she pointed out that it is intolerable that in an environment that should be safe, until today women are subjected to harassment and gender violence, whether verbal or discriminatory.
This seemed to be reinforced after the Norwegian women’s beach volleyball team was fined after the players opted to wear shorts instead of bikini during a match at the European championship.
However, there have been those who have decided that if the institutions do nothing about it, action will have to be taken. And that’s what the German women’s gymnastics team did. They debuted in Tokyo with unitards, one-piece jumpsuits that cover the legs (up to the ankles), and sometimes also the arms (up to the wrists) to condemn the sexualization that women suffer in this Olympic discipline .
The German Gymnastics Federation said its gymnasts oppose “sexualization in gymnastics”, adding that the issue has become even more important in preventing sexual abuse. We cannot close our eyes to something that has been a constant. Sport continues to be a space with great male dominance. Both in its execution, where stereotypes continue to prevail, men’s soccer is more valued than women’s, women are more associated with the aesthetic part of it and therefore it is believed that this should be compensated with uniforms that show their body.
This is not intended to fall into puritanism. It is not intended to be scandalized by sexuality or the erotic expression of a body. Sexual expression must be free in any person. What we seek to eradicate is that our socialization processes as women are articulated so that our definition as women revolves around the objectification and sexualization of our bodies. For Natasha Walters, in her book Living dolls, the problem is that “the new hypersexual culture redefines female success within the reduced framework of sexual attractiveness.”
And although this social emancipation that is taking place may annoy many, not only in the streets but actively from the trenches that each one has to face, there is nothing more refreshing for feminism than knowing that together with a society patriarchal, groups of women coexist and develop who choose not to live in an unsafe environment, and know that they do not have to accept it as their only life option.
Let’s hope that in these Olympic Games equality and respect are crowned as the great champions of the event.
* Doctor of Education and Master of Arts. Coordinator of the Department of Arts and Humanities of the Center for Research and Development of Bilingual Education UANL.