Last night I got accused of being a hypocrite. What caused this libellous accusation? A picture I re-tweeted.
Now I ask you, what is wrong with this picture?
Nothing, I say. A young bloke presenting the kit for one of the new National Rugby Championship (NRC) teams, The Greater Sydney Rams. Is it my fault that the alternate shirt they brought to the photo session didn’t fit young Mr Tom Hill?
(By the way Tom, I am single. Love rugby. Cook a mean mud cake and am pretty good at massages. So I have been told. #JustSayin)
Now I also favourited another Rams tweet staring another young man call Ben Vola Vola. But my noticing of this particular tweet didn’t receive the condemnation of my promotion Mr Hill’s.
Was it because I drew more attention to one than I did the other?
Was it because my reply to the “Tom Hill” tweet was :
How do you know that I was not referring to all of the social media interactions that The Greater Sydney Rams have had with their fans and the wider world?
Ok, so that last question was rhetorical……but I do have to say that from my point of view the Rams have done well with their social media campaign to date.
Frequently when I make a comment about the ‘form’ of a rugby player I get labelled with the ‘hypocrite’ tag. Sometimes tongue in check. Other times not. So am I? Do I need to take a good long look at myself in the mirror and accept that, when it comes to half naked photos of athletes, I am in fact a card carrying hypocrite?
I would disagree. I will admit to at times making comments regarding some of said pictures to promote debate and discussion.
The biggest point that I struggle to get across in these discussions is that in a lot of cases pictures of female athletes, clothed or otherwise, are sexualised in an inappropriate manner.
What is the difference I hear you ask? Well……
Appropriate – Oxford Womens’ Rugby nude calendar raising money for a good cause.
Inappropriate – Imagine a mechanic’s workshop calendar……. Or perhaps Lingerie Football……
So what is the difference….. Well who in their right mind would play a contact sport in their underwear, complete with garter? Why don’t male American Football players play in their underwear?
You want another example?
This is Christina Vukicevic, a Norwegian hurdler. Look at the poses. Are they saying “I am a finely tuned athlete who trains hard to represent their country”?
I would say no, but am happy to listen to other opinions. No denying she is a beautiful woman and looks good in a bikini, but the only thing relevant to her sport in these photos is what she is sitting on.
Now review the photo of Tom. What does his pose say? Relaxed. Smiling. Missing a shirt. A young bloke who has signed up to play rugby and is, I am assuming, rightly proud of his physique.
Now don’t get me wrong, male athletes have also been known to, in my opinion, have had some inappropriate pictures published of them. And not just those on social media after a big night out.
Really? Is this necessary from a couple of French players. As compared to our very own pink rugby calendar…….
So am I a hypocrite or do I hold double standards? I don’t think so.
Do I ‘like’ photos of naked or partially clad rugby boys? Yep.
Do I think that all of these pictures are appropriate for all situations? Nope.
Do I agree with the promotion of sport through these images? Maybe not, but we are now talking about the National Rugby Championship and one of their teams.
Is any publicity good publicity? No. But that is a whole other discussion.
I guess my point is that photographs such as those we are discussing can be ‘tastefully’ done, but in a lot of cases, for both male and female athletes, they become all about the objectification of their bodies. And, no matter the gender, this is not OK.
My other point is that if you have a problem with people promoting certain images then it should not matter if the subject is male or female. If you think that the picture of Tom Hill is inappropriate, why is the Oxford Women’s Rugby calendar OK?
Have I got my point across? Probably not. But the back ground to this story is that the Greater Sydney Rams have joined the new Australian NRC competition and they are promoting themselves the best way they can to get people talking with out, in my opinion, over stepping the bounds. Job done.
For those that are interested here is the list of twitter accounts for the NRC teams. In no particular order.
Queensland Country – @QLDCountry_NRC
Brisbane City – @BrisCity_NRC
Perth Spirit – @PerthSpirit
Melbourne Rising – @MelbourneRising
Greater Sydney Rams – @Rams_Rugby
Sydney Stars – @starsrugby
North Harbour Rays – @NorthHarbourRays
NSW Country Eagles – @CountryEagles
Canberra Vikings – Not yet, but @BrumbiesRugby is currently carrying the torch.
I follow them all but the Rams have certainly been the best in both promotion and interaction. And this is not just because of the picture of Mr Hill. (Although it has helped….)
Now, where was I? Oh yes…….. rugby……..