With power comes great responsibility.

May 24, 2012

It feels like we’re entering (if not already entered) a paradigm where power is highly sought after – but the ‘responsibility’ that comes with that power, is being neglected.

This issue of the Lingerie Football League (LFL) is getting me quite fired up. I’ve been having a small ‘discussion’ with a man on my Questions for Women Facebook page. My last comment to him is at the end of this post.

His perception, like maaaany, is that we need to take a ‘chill pill’ about the whole thing.
I must admit that my first response to him had some bite because, like many comments I’ve read before, men compare something like the LFL to the uniforms worn by Beach Volleyball players (for example).

They see the difference and that alarms me deeply.
That one is a uniform adequate for the sport and the other is lingerie with garter belts?…and ‘accidental nudity?’ According to an article written by Melinda Tankard Reist:

“Players have to sign contracts agreeing to “accidental nudity”. There’s nothing accidental about it: flesh exposure is virtually guaranteed. The contract states: ” … Performances hereunder may involve accidental nudity. Player knowingly and voluntarily agrees to provide player’s service … and has no objection to providing services involving player’s accidental nudity.”

If they wear any additional items of clothing under the lingerie they will be fined $500. Apart from All Star matches, they are not paid. And they are at serious risk of injury. In fact, the league brags about all the injuries suffered by female players.

It is a mix of voyeurism and violence.”

Now – the most important point or argument put forward:

“But they’re doing it of their own free will.”

Are they? Really?

Well, yes, literally they are – but is the decision an educated one? If you think of the quote, “You can’t be what you can’s see” (Miss Representation), these women are products of what they’ve seen around them, as they’ve grown and developed, and now they’re simply making the image grow, as it tragically becomes ‘fashion’ or worse, the norm. It’s a growing emergency because the more girls and young women are ‘fed’ this image, the more they feel the necessity to join up…

…and don’t the guys just love that they do.

After all, human beings have that uncanny knack for doing things that may not be the best for them – especially it feels good. Right?

And this is where I need to state – quite emphatically – that I don’t begrudge people of their desires. But I need to ask:

Question #46: Where do we draw the line? Where’s the responsibility to our youth?

I believe these young women DO need our help – make it our responsibility, seeing as the men in power are only looking out for themselves – because these women haven’t had much else to model themselves on. They’re insecure of their worth and need validation. They’re told by men that they’re ‘hot’ – paid nothing (in most cases) – and are ultimately exploited.

I continue to be completely (and sadly) gobsmacked that this LFL was permitted to come to Australia. The presentation game is in Sydney in two and a half weeks, so please make sure you vote against this on Change.org:


I think there may even be two different petitions going. Sign them all!

Deep Breath everyone!



Facebook comment:

I feel sad that you don’t see that this sport is sexism at its worst and that images of women looking like this, are wallpapering our world.
I actually played a spot of women’s rugby at uni in Armidale and I agree with you, we were pretty entertaining…but we weren’t in our underwear.
You see the difference, don’t you?
If you still don’t, then yes we’ll have to agree to disagree.
This ‘sport’ only exists to exploit women to service men’s desires.
Otherwise they’d be in the best protective gear.

7 Responses to “With power comes great responsibility.”

  1. Derek Von said

    I agree that it’s a cynical, psuedo sport with the sole aim of generating large profits for the companies that own the telecasting, advertising rights etc. You say that the men behind the scenes are looking after their interests but have you researched who exactly is behind the scenes? What are their names? What are the names of the related companies they control? Are you certain it is only men doing the exploiting? I’m sure there are plenty of woman who’d exploit their fellow females for the cash.

    • questionsforwomen said

      In my next post, I’m discussing women at the top – and we only represent 3% of clout positions in company boardrooms. Three. So yes, they are male.
      It was a man who started the LFL – Mitch Mortaza and here in Oz, it’s places like radio station Triple M – renowned for its ‘blokiness’ and even employs a man known for participating in a gang style ‘rape’, as one of its stars – who is one of the sponsers.
      I’m sure there’s a woman sprinkled here or there in the mix – but as with most places – not enough of them to have balance.

  2. Derek Von said

    It’s big business and the only way to stop it is to ensure that it didn’t make a profit and therefore didn’t encourage the producers that it was commercially viable to continue. How you would successfully do that I don’t know. I agree that it isn’t for childrens eyes but are you not building a nanny state by seeking its demise. Maybe those girls love their job and the money and lifestyle it provides and don’t want or need a prudish big sister telling them how to live their lives.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I mustn’t be writing very clearly because I don’t want a nanny state – I understand the desires that human beings harbour and the last thing I want is to stifle free expression, expecting women to walking around covered up…BUT isn’t it tipping to the other direction? There needs to be more of a balanced situation.
      It’s not for children’s eyes – but children are being exposed. Everywhere. All the time. I’m not just talking about the LFL, it’s TV shows, movies, video clip and the worst – Internet ads. As I said before it’s THE REACH that these images have and then the EFFECT. Noone seems to care about the effect.
      As a woman, I’m here to tell you that we are an insecure bunch and when we look around for validation and a way to fit in, we turn to the trend.
      This is not a good trend. 12/13 yr olds sexting is not good. Surely you agree. So the important question is: Where are they LEARNING all this?
      Throughout time, there have always been women who have gotten their gear off and that’s fine – it’s nature / balance. But you can’t say that the wallpapering of this hyper-sexualised representation of women is OK – JUST BECAUSE WE CAN? Technology has afforded us many advancements – but this one is taking the piss.
      I’m sure, of course, that there are women who enjoy doing this sort of thing, but when more and more young women (and always getting younger) are not only being portrayed in this way, but say they ‘like’ it, then it needs to be slowed down. If we don’t, what’s the outcome?
      This is what was written about one of the US players of the LFL:

      Tampa Breeze Florida player Liz Gorman told CBC Radio earlier this year what it is like to wear uniforms designed for maximum flesh exposure:
      “Oh. Well … well, honestly … I don’t like it. I’d rather wear full clothing. Because when you fall, it literally rips your skin. I’d love more clothing, but at the same time like any sport, the players don’t get to choose the uniform.”

      Well, she doesn’t sound like she loves it but if she says no, she’ll lose her job. Do you know what it reminds me of? When I worked in Uruguay and the people there had NO workers’ rights – and if you didn’t like your situation? Well, there’s a queue of people willing and waiting to take your spot. It’s exploitation.
      So how do we do it? We protest. The problem is that we then get labelled with words such as ‘prude’ or ‘dyke’ or told to ‘chill.’
      PS – and I am no prude.

  3. I totally agree kids are not allowed to be kids with what is thrown in their face on tv

  4. Just to add to the beach volleyball conversation. When researching women in sport i came across this issue. facts are men get to play beach volleyball in shorts and t-shirts, womens regulation uniform consists of bikini top and bottoms and the bottoms are not allowed to exceed 6cm in width. Looks like a double standard to me.
    And finally they have realised they are excluding a lot of female athletes by these skimpy uniforms. And as http://femaletalk.com/news/lingerie-football-league “that’s the unfortunate part of the whole thing. Women can be amazing footballers, but they are still forced to be sexy—as always first and foremost—before they’re allowed to be anything else.”

    And again we have amazing female footy players here, who can wear normal uniforms like the men. If all these men really want to see women playing league go to sportingpulse.com – women in league

    And P, as always, well bloody said

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