The top hits in a Google search for “female surfers” include a list of The Nine Hottest Female Surfers and an article at AskMen.com which muses that females have attracted more fans to the sport because, after all, “what red-blooded male doesn’t like to watch sexy female surfers prep on the beach and get wet in her bikini?”
Whether fair or unfair, they do have a point: bikinis make good advertisement.
What upsets me, though, is an industry in which the top female award is reportedly worth $50,000 while the largest prize purses for men range from $100,000 to $1,000,000. And unlike those first Google results for “female surfers,” articles like this one from the New York Times expose sexist and homophobic attitudes faced by surfers such as Cori Schumacher.
I should confess: I have a habit of respecting female surfers just because they are female. Is that actually empowering? Perhaps what we should work toward is a day when nobody blinks an eye at a woman excelling in a “men’s sport” because there are as many highly-qualified female competitors as there are male… bikini-clad or not. As long as nobody is confusing “role model” with “swimsuit model” I suspect that true athleticism will speak for itself.
The same goes for many sports, as well as for science and politics. And let us not ignore that gender biases can go both ways (I think harassment towards men in historically female positions can be even harsher than the converse). Personally, I look forward to a day when then term “man’s profession” is just as obsolete as “woman’s profession,” and a day when someone’s job title or salary does not tell us anything about their gender.
(Just for the record, these are my own contemplations and not necessarily SeaMonster’s, though I’d love to hear what they – and you – think.)