Sportswear For Women: From Emancipation To Objectification

Health 2022
Sportswear For Women: From Emancipation To Objectification
Sportswear For Women: From Emancipation To Objectification

Video: Sportswear For Women: From Emancipation To Objectification

Video: Do our films objectify women? 2022, December
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A hundred years ago, a woman's place was anywhere, but not in sports. It was believed that we absolutely did not need to show high results, win competitions, or generally participate in anything other than sports in the backyard. Clothes for such leisure were quite everyday, that is, uncomfortable, restricting movement. Today, athletes around the world actively participate in competitions, but the problem of women's sports uniforms has not disappeared: in its creation, the principle of “beauty” still dominates comfort and, in addition, is seasoned with good old objectification. Wimbledon in July and the recently kicked off Olympic Games in Rio - competitions in which athletes continually break world records but still complain about the impracticality of clothing - are a reason to remember that women do not always have a full choice. Even when it comes to clothing.

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At the beginning of the twentieth century, women's sportswear had nothing to do with practicality, mobility and work to achieve results - it was according to the principle “say thank you for giving the ball to hold”. For example, to play golf, blouses and skirts were worn, similar to those in which it was customary to travel to the city on business. It wasn't until 1910 that pleats were sewn into the sides of tweed jackets for golf competitions so that the fabric would not tear with a sharp swing with the club. Tennis was also supposed to be played in long skirts, starched blouses, jackets with narrow sleeves that impede movement, and certainly in hats. In 1917, Vogue, the authority among jetsetters, in a ski fashion review urged women to hide their skirts far away and cut them down the slopes in jodhpurs - riding breeches.

Society has gradually come to terms with the fact that women have a right to comfort. At the beginning of the last century, mass production of clothing was well established in the United States, so it was there that they began to sew "special" women's clothing for sports, in particular, shorter skirts than usual. Women in trousers became an acceptable sight, however, this fashion was not always allowed beyond the beaches and promenades. In the Russian Empire, the desire of women to master new sports - skiing and skating, athletics and boxing - became one of the important manifestations of the movement for bodily emancipation. True, girls also boxed in long skirts, but the popularity of trousers in these latitudes was promoted by the spread of cycling among middle-class urban women. Already in the 30s, trousers entered ski fashion all over the world. Women no longer had to conquer the slopes in jodhpurs - they began to sew long, loose trousers with cuffs and short jackets with wide shoulders, under which it was convenient to put on a sweater.

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Olympic champion Suzanne Lenglen shocked the public by going to the match

in a cropped skirt

While women in ski and seaside resorts wore trousers, sexism still reigned in “noble” tennis. In 1922, the Olympic champion, Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen shocked the public when she went to the Wimbledon tournament in a cropped skirt and instead of a hat she put on a bandage to ensure a normal view of the court. As a result, by the beginning of the 1930s, tennis players were already allowed to compete “bareheaded”. In 1932, American Alice Marble appeared on the court in white shorts, which caused a real scandal and paved the way for common sense regarding women's sportswear. In the 1930s, women were already involved in many competitive sports - from water skiing and mountaineering to shooting and fencing - so gradually their needs were taken into account in apparel manufacturing. Short tennis dresses appeared, and suede jackets and pleated skirts, slacks or culottes were chosen for golf and shooting.

The emergence of sportswear for women was promoted by utilitarian fashion: denim uniforms and overalls migrated from factories to the wardrobes of outdoor enthusiasts, and motorcyclists began to wear aviation jackets with sheepskin and tweed bombers. After the Second World War, synthetic fabrics began to be used in the production of pullover dresses and tops for gymnastics, and women's sports uniforms became more technological - they no longer needed to be buttoned and unbuttoned endlessly. Nylon and other synthetics, combined with the technology of tailoring military uniforms, did the incredible: now you could hide the hood in the collar, and in sports jackets they created pockets for storing snacks. In the mid-60s, color was also remembered: jersey T-shirts and tracksuits began to be produced in bright blue and bottle shades, which preceded a real color boom in sportswear in the 80s.

Today, women's sports uniforms are more technological, and women themselves, in general, have won their place in big-time sports. True, while German, Russian or Chinese runners and swimmers compete in open suits and swimsuits, their Muslim counterparts perform in hijabs, ankle-length leggings and long-sleeved leotards. In the complex and ambiguous patriarchal value system on which Muslim cultures are built, a covered head and body are sometimes the only way for women to go in for sports, and sometimes they are a deliberate choice. However, the first world sometimes forgets about the existence of such a choice and longs to free the “poor colored sister” from oppression by all means. In 2007, FIFA banned the hijab in international matches for women, while for some of them, such as the Australian football player Assmaa Helal, wearing the hijab is an important personal choice. The ban was lifted in 2012, which was a relief not only for Muslim athletes, but also for fans in many Islamic countries: they love football there, but women are not allowed to watch men's matches.

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The inclusion of Muslim women in sports is facilitated by a special "sports" hijab: it looks like a hood, is quite comfortable and does not make too striking a difference in the appearance of athletes. Dutch designer Cindy van den Bremen began developing it back in 1999 when she learned that local schools did not allow girls to exercise in hijabs. Nevertheless, for many athletes, the inability to cover their heads and bodies in competitions is a real obstacle in their careers. Just five years ago, the International Weightlifting Federation allowed competitors to compete in uniforms that cover their arms and legs. In turn, fencer Ibtihai Muhammad, the first representative of the US Olympic team in the hijab, chose fencing from all sports for the reason that it is possible not to expose the body in it, while performing in a standard form.

Attempts to give the world all the benefits of hegemonic democracy are not without meaning, but at times they resemble the famous meme-picture with an oriental woman in a niqab, in which only her eyes are visible, and a blonde in a bikini, who has everything open except her eyes - they have a black bandage on them. As you know, emancipation does not cancel the good old objectification. In the 80s and 90s, Tennis Girl erotic posters and close-up posters of volleyball players were in vogue. Fetishization is strongly promoted by the design of women's sportswear. In beach volleyball, this is most often a bikini or shorts and a crop top (an alternative for cold weather is a long sleeve top and leggings). Men are supposed to compete in jerseys, even in the hottest climates, since their name and the country they represent are printed on the back. Women could calmly play topless beach volleyball to the delight of the "fans": the name and affiliation of the team are often indicated on shorts, swimming trunks or leggings - in the buttocks and above the groin.A separate conversation is the Legends Football League (formerly Lingerie Football League) women's American football league, created as an alternative to boring TV content during the breaks of the Super Bowl: of course, unlike men's clubs, women's teams compete in underwear.

Tennis players most often complain about the inferiority of their sportswear: either the skirts are too short and the athletes cannot really bend over, the shoulder straps do not hold the chest, or the mini-shorts restrict movement. This year at the Wimbledon tournament, many athletes were given a new model of the Nike Premier Slam dress, which turned out to be a real disaster: a loose-fitting dress made of too light fabric now and then billowed like a sail, and "fluttered in all directions", and the lack of shorts in the set aggravated situation. Briton Katie Swan had to put on her spare shorts and tuck into them the hem, Swede Rebecca Peterson wore a long-sleeved sweater over a sweater, Czech tennis player Lucia Shafarzhova wrestled with the dress throughout the match, and tournament winner Serena Williams prudently refused to wear a Premier Slam partnership in spite of …

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Gym regulars often condemn the choice of girls who work out

in bright mini-shorts and crop tops

The design of women's sportswear has always been based on fashion trends. Back in 1947, British tennis player and fashion designer Ted Tinling, inspired by Dior's new look, decided to return elegance to the female form with the help of pleated waffle piqué dresses, and two years later he created lace-trimmed sneakers for the American athlete Gussie Moran for the Wimbledon tournament. Today adidas collaborates with Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons and Mary Katranzu, while Nike creates capsule collections with Berlin-based Acronym designer Johanna Schneider and Japanese brand Sacai. The latest collaboration caused outrage on the Web: judging by the reviews on Twitter, an impractical design for the sake of elegance, an abundance of ruffles and folds for many sports style fans is far from the ultimate dream. Nike called the collection "a bold expression of femininity," and journalist Megan Wiegand said in a Slate article that the concept was "comical and insulting to female athletes around the world."

There is nothing shameful in the love of fashion and the desire to be girly, but in this sense, an inner misogyny is manifested among women. Gym goers often condemn the choice of girls who work out in bright, skinny shorts, mini-tops in flashy colors, or with makeup. We talk a lot about the fact that sexuality and fashion are empowerment, but as soon as we encounter manifestations different from ours, the method of emancipation cleverly turns into an instrument of objectification: they say, this is a gym, not a brothel. It's time to learn that girls have the right to be sexy in any way, anywhere, but the problem is different: manufacturers and consumers of women's sportswear often perceive it as a segment of mainstream fashion. Sometimes important trends come from it, for example, body positivity: Nike recently released a line of sports bras, taking into account the characteristics of different body types.

Nevertheless, in the design of a sports uniform for women, the desire to "make beautiful" is often more important than concern for manufacturability and comfort. For example, yoga leggings become transparent when pulled, and sports forums regularly post questions and tips on which brands to avoid for this reason. For lovers of training with "iron", it can be difficult to find shorts in the store that are comfortable for squats or lunges: as a rule, the fit is too low and the shorts constantly slide out, showing underwear. But the colors are "beautiful": men have a wide selection of black and gray uniforms with small bright details, but lovers of muted tones have to work hard to find a suitable top or shorts model.Ordinary lines of sportswear for women would not be hurt not only by a wider assortment, but also by dividing products into a kind of street sports cosplay and sportswear proper, focused on the needs of athletes. Otherwise, with all the triumph of technology, we will go back a hundred years ago, when women were forced to ride in almost evening dresses.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons (1, 2), ResportOn / Facebook, NikeLab x Sacai

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