Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

Multiple Choice Question:

The WNBA rookie orientation took 1/3 of its time focusing on:

A. Fitness and Nutrition
B. Media Training
C. Make-up Application and Fashion Tips
D. Financial Advice

If you picked C, you would be correct. That’s right, according to a Chicago Tribune article, one third of the orientation was focused on helping the new pros look more feminine and sexy. Here we have a 2008 class of incredible athletes led by Candace Parker, Candice Wiggins, Sylvia Fowles who can, as demonstrated in Tampa, bring fans into the stands and get them to turn on the TV based on their ability to play ball and what does the WNBA focus one-third of the orientation time on? That same old tired, disproven, apologetic and insulting strategy of “let’s sell their femininity and heterosex appeal.”

Now, I don’t give a rat’s patoot if women (or men for that matter) want to wear lipstick, eye shadow, blush or eyeliner. If you want to wear stiletto heels and evening gowns that show cleveage down to your navel, go for it. But for the WNBA to include this in their rookie orientation? Seriously, is this the best marketing strategy they can come up with? For Pete’s sake, these are some amazing athletes, does the WBNA really think lipstick and Gucci stiletto heels will draw more fans?

It feels so defensive…so desperate. Renee Brown, WNBA VP of player personnel said (with my interpretations in parentheses), “ The league aims to show its players as mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces and entrepreneurs (but not lesbians!) and their womanhood (heterosexual femininity) is important to promote the league (so fans don’t notice the lesbian players or the ones who are not so feminine). Later, she says, “You’re a (heterosexual) woman first. You just happen to play sports. They enjoy dressing up and trying on outfits, when back in the day (when all women athletes were lesbians), everyone just wore sweats. Call it what you want, we are just celebrating their womanhood (heterosexual femininity).” Does that help everyone to understand what this is about?

Since the WNBA is going down this tired old path, after all, the All-American Girls Baseball League used this strategy back in the 1940’s, I have a suggestion. Let’s have the new WNBA tag line this year be, “I Feel Pretty.” They can do TV promos with the song from West Side Story. Here are some of the lyrics:

I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay (whoops, maybe not so gay, we’ll need to change that one)
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me today
I feel charming
Oh so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real
See the pretty girl in that mirror there?
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face
Such a pretty dress
Such a pretty smile
Such a pretty me!

Whaddaya think? Am I on to something here, or what?


calugg said...

Let me guess.....

And Renee Portland has a new gig enforcing the "femme" regulations in the WNBA.

Bleh, bleh and BLEH!

Unknown said...

The audacity of the WNBA!

What makes them think they can tell the players how to look, act or live?

Anonymous said...

I have to first say I'm not into sports at all, and I kind of a girlie, girl. :-) AND.... You are SO onto something! That is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but it's NOT about being a woman first--and you just happen to play sports. If that was true, they could feature my fat, old, female self in their ads. This is about being in an ELITE class of athletes (which I regret I couldn't say about myself, even in my fit and athletic 20s) and that has nothing to do with the consumption of "beauty" products. Those women are all quite beautiful without warpaint, which is still irrelevant to the fact that they are the best in the world at what they do.
Let them be themselves! Makeup or not.

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