November 24, 2009
Is the sexualization of women's basketball teams perpetuating the problem of homophobia in women's sports? Sports writer Jadya Evans responds to FSU's women's basketball team's new marketing ploy. Besides the obvious issues (girls can't just play basketball, they have to look pretty doing it too), Jadya asserts that this "feminizing" of women's basketball teams also represents the rampant homophobia in women's sports. By emphasizing gender norms and feminizing women basketball players, the viewer is meant to assume heterosexuality. If you know anything about women's sports and homophobia, you know this is hardly the first time that this has been an issue in the way that women's sports teams are marketed. What's even more frustrating is that these tactics aren't just harmful to the queer women they're trying to mask. They undermine all women, with the assumption that a woman can't just be amazing at what she does best, she must also be the "perfect" woman, glammed up, committed to community service, and blatantly heterosexual (being pregnant once in a while helps too). This isn't to say that any of these things are bad on their own, but when it becomes more important to emphasize these traits over the skill and sportsmanship of the women, especially in media focused on the sport, it's a problem.