Catsuits and Training Bras
Posted on September 04 2018
Grand Slam tennis is one of the very few sporting arenas where women compete at the same tournament for the same prize money as men, but unfortunately, nobody is talking about the tennis. Instead, the media sharks have circled around a ‘tennis sexism row,’ all stemming from a catsuit and a quick shirt turn around. Was the decision to give Alizé Cornet a code violation for turning her shirt around ridiculous? Yes. Is it being blown out of all proportion? Yes.
Like any institution, especially those as old as tennis, there are going to be rules that under certain circumstances will seem completely ridiculous. Cornet broke one of these rules, in that, ‘during play, players need to request breaks through the chair umpire’ to change attire. Was this rule designed to stop Cornet turning her shirt around on court? No. No doubt the rule is there to ensure players don’t gain a competitive advantage through needless time wasting. Cornet broke the rule, and she was punished, the umpire could have shown some leniency, but at the end of the day, they were doing their job.
Everyone is quick to point out that it is hardly fair that the men are often seen topless at change of ends, while Cornet is penalised for exposing a sports bra, and on the face of it, it does seem very unfair. However, the US Open has clarified that both men and women are free to change shirts at change of ends if they wish. Unfortunately it is too late though, 1000s of Twitter shots have been fired, the media has circled, and these people don’t do retractions.
If we were to write a de-sensationalised headline, it should read, ‘Cornet unwittingly breaks rule, given code violation, violation rescinded.” That doesn’t sell though, and doesn’t fit people’s agendas. People want to see equality, but when you have one of the greatest examples of equality in sports taking place, they just want to talk about how it might not be equal. Instead of boosting the women’s game by commending the excellent tennis that has taken place, we are
all talking about a sports bra.
Would Djokovic have got the same penalty in the same situation? Who knows? On another day, would Cornet even have got the same penalty? Again, who knows. On the face of it, it did look like one set of rules for the men and another for the women, but like with most things, there’s a logical reason for what’s happened.
Of course, that still leaves ‘Catsuit Gate’ to detract from the tennis. To me, the catsuit Serena wore at the French doesn’t look unusual attire for an athlete at all, but presumably, if Serena can’t wear one, nor can Roger. Serena is simply being punished for deviating from the norm, not for being a woman. Apparently, deviating from the norm is not something the French Open can embrace, and the only thing that can be read in to that is the myopic mindset of the man who made the comments.
It’s a great shame that women go out and train everyday to make themselves the best in the world at what they do, but instead of celebrating their tennis, they are dominating the media for political reasons.
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