Early Doors

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Early Doors

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It was interesting reading an article in The Guardian yesterday about Wimbledon providing evidence that feminism continues to have a long struggle ahead.

Most of it focused on an apparently "sexist" BBC presenter John Inverdale claiming that Marion Bartoli, the women's champion at Wimbledon, is a better player than her looks.

"I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, 'listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker," said Inverdale.

"You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5 feet 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that."

Some people wanted Inverdale hung, drawn and quartered from the Centre Court roof for his comments, but forgot conveniently to admit that he was probably right. Whether or not you decided to take offence is a personal matter. It doesn't take much to upset people these days.

Sharapova has made millions from her career as a "looker". She has posed in Sports Illustrated's swimwear edition. With legs like tree trunks, Bartoli has not. But she still trousered £1.6m for clasping Wimbers so she has been well compensated for falling down in the aesthetics. She is there to play tennis, not to look good.

Would she rather be eye candy without the Wimbledon trophy? Bartoli collected the level of cash that Andy Murray won for lifting the men's title a day later against Novak Djokovic in a far more cut-throat environment. So no sexism there then.

The fall-out from the Inverdale blunder continued on the night that the women's European Championship began in Sweden.

Hosts Sweden were held to a 1-1 draw by Denmark after missing two penalties while Italy and Finland shared a goalless draw.

The level of football at the tournament would put many amateur male footballers to shame before the suggestion is made that it is a poor relation to the men's professional game.

Amateur men's football is a poor relation to the men's professional game. Paula Radcliffe would run most men into the ground and Laura Davies would beat a lot of male scratch golfers so comparing ability at the top level is a futile debate if we are going all out for equality.

ED is all for these Euros, but it would be naive to suggest a lot of men (and some women too) won't be watching the matches and thinking: "Woof, she is hot". Well, we certainly know Inverdale might be.

Why is it so wrong for women to cash in from their looks? ED thinks their beauty should be celebrated, but would probably be decried as sexist for such a statement. These are the PC times in which we live.

ED was doing a bit of research into this subject. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Laure Boulleau and Louisa Necib of France are fine footballers, and also very attractive ladies. But then ED came across Josefine Oqvist of Sweden posing in swimwear with a ripped top and Corine Franco of France semi-naked in a picture. They didn't appear to be posing under duress. Something has gone wrong in the sexism debate.

Why do women dress up, wear make up and keep in shape? Is it only for themselves? Or do they do it to be attractive to the opposite sex? Or attract male attention?

Is it wrong to make such a suggestion? Single men keep in shape to feel good and remain attractive to women when they are out and about.

Aberdeen's former Danish coach Ebbe Skovdahl once prompted outrage when he claimed "statistics are just like mini-skirts, they give you good ideas but hide the most important thing".

Does Rafael Nadal not get whistles when he changes tops on a tennis court? The sexist allegations can work both ways. Enjoy the Euro 2013 football, and may the best team win.

But away from the hustle and bustle, sport and sex continue to sell whatever else is said on the subject. Sexist or not, they drive each other on with sponsors.

Ian Haro


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I have played against Manchester United twice in the Champions League with Villarreal, in both years we passed to the last 16 and Manchester United didn't so I have experience playing against United. I know that the most important thing for all the fans is to beat United and if I am here it is because I am sure we will do it. This year, same as other years, Manchester City will be top of Manchester United – we will try, at least." Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini talks a good game in his first press conference.

FOREIGN VIEW: "It is unacceptable - a scandal of huge proportions. The teams are suspended indefinitely, pending further sanctions. We will investigate this matter thoroughly and get to the bottom of it." Muke Umeh, chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Organising Committee relays the news that four clubs involved in two play-off matches ending 79-0 and 67-0 respectively have been suspended in Nigeria. Plateau United Feeders were 79-0 winners against Akurba FC while Police Machine FC thumped Bubayaro FC 67-0. Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine went into the matches level on points, with promotion to the lowest tier of the Nationwide League Division at stake. The results meant that Plateau edged above Police Machine on goal difference. Makes you wonder if Titus Bramble was playing in any of the losing sides.

COMING UP: Extensive LIVE coverage of the Ashes continues from 11am while Eurobot is along from 12:30pm to discuss the day’s transfer happenings. Norway face Iceland with Germany meeting the Netherlands as the women’s Euro 2013 continues in Sweden.

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