Why Sport24 was neanderthal over Norendal

In case you missed it, earlier this week Sport24 decided to show its prowess by rising above the mundane level of commentary at this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics by asking the pertinent questions. Not about what it takes to succeed in international athletics, or who has the most medals so far. Not for them the bear-poking inquiry into why the Winter Olympics are being held in a sub-tropical city. No, the pressing question of the week was…

“Is this the hottest babe at the Winter Olympics?” [We’re not even going to link to that one – Ed]

Let me start by saying that I’m not some bra burning activist offended that men are drooling over women. I actually get it. We, in our natural form, are pretty impressive to look at. I’m all for celebrating that. I’m guilty of objectifying men and women on my personal blog. I do it all the time.

So do a lot of other people. Wrongly or rightly when you’re publishing on the internet. Good looking people get you hits.

I like to think I offer more than merely ogling eye candy in my writing though. While I’m appreciating the male or female form, I’ve still got some sort of message I’m trying to tell you. I may drool over Tom Hiddleston as Loki in The Avengers, but I still try throw in some factual little titbits or at least credit the guy’s acting chops (he did a lot more with that character than simply look good). I figure if you’re taking the time to read something I wrote you want a little bit more than some images you can quite easily find on Google.

Apparently the guys over at Sport24 don’t think like that. They posted a story about Silje Norendal. Silje who? She’s a snowboarder competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics. She’s also gorgeous. The article was titled “Is this the hottest babe at the Winter Olympics?” The article itself consisted of 5 lines of text and then some pictures pulled from Norendal’s Instagram feed. None of which were action shots of her actually snowboarding.

Would Norendal be offended? Oh, I imagine she would. Because you see the journo on Sports24 can be quoted as saying “the fact that she failed to medal in Sochi is of little importance.”

One of Norendal’s events hasn’t even started yet. I found that out with Google while sipping on a cup of tea. I’d presume a full-time journalist with a story quota would be equipped with the same tools? If I’d worked my butt off to get to the highest level of my sport I’d be flattered if you called me a babe, but I’m pretty sure I’d be seething if you wrote me off before I’d even finished competing and justified it with “at least you’re really good-looking”.

In order to try being fair (or at least, throw a few more examples behind my rant) I attempted to find similar stories on the internet that objectify female athletes or tech heads (as it’s also a relatively male dominated area) but I couldn’t. There are stacks of “Hottest women at the Olympics/Athletic type thing/in coding but in each of them the writer has taken a bit of time to tell you a bit more about the girl. The nail in Sport24’s coffin was when I paged through FHM and still couldn’t find something that didn’t credit the woman photographed for anything but being a pretty face. That’s right, even models whose only job it is to look really good get a bit more respect than Sport24 offered Norendal.

Let’s appreciate pretty faces but let’s also appreciate what got that pretty face on your radar in the first place.

[Image – Shutterstock]


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