So Pete Bodo, respected tennis writer and media practitioner writes an article on women’s tennis in which he describes Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki as “rosy cheeked women akin to milkmaids who seem like they can do some chores”. Apart from CNote on twitter not many journalists and/or media practitioners have found fault with Bodo’s headline and/or his article in general.
I am not surprised by this. Know why I am not surprised by this? When commentators continue to describe Li Na and others like her who are married women as girls, when the WTA continues to allow on-court coaching which shows accomplished professional women seeking advice from men who have never in their lives accomplished much in the way of tennis, when professional women, instead of marketing themselves as strong, intelligent women, allow themselves to be shown in media portrayals as sex kittens, then and only then will the media, made up largely of chauvinistic white men to begin with, start looking at them as professional women, and not as jolly milk maids.
For the last few months, commentators at Pete Bodo’s blog have been taking him to task for the throw away nature of his writing. Most are of the view that he has become bored or there is not much to write about in terms of tennis. However, a look at his recent articles on the men’s game shows someone who is at least still invested and interested in the sport.
Recent articles on 5 male contenders were well written, albeit a little more research could have gone into the article. Women’s tennis seems to take a backseat at Tennis World these days and this is quite surprising seeing as the women’s game is generating more viewers than the men’s game. The recently concluded Australian Open indicated that more people tuned into the women’s final than they did the men’s. This is a sad indictment on the men’s game as the final was between the 2 heir apparent to Federer and Nadal. The last time the women’s game out matched the men was in the early 2000s when Venus and Serena ruled the tennis world.
Most fans have become jaded by the Nadal/Federer juggernaut. They have become boring and fans of men’s tennis are now looking for the next big thing. Women’s tennis however is doing quite fine if the WTA could only get out of its own way and promote the Tour in the way it should be promoted. The WTA seems to have this idea that if they promote 1 or 2 players then fans will come. No, if you promote the whole Tour, then fans will come.
The WTA product is an excellent one. Fans may describe the style of play as ball bashing, but at least it is much better than the serve fests that are generated in the men’s game.
I wish that media practitioners would look at the women’s game as a professional body rather than a whole host of “girls” running around in little skirts hitting a ball and generating some kind of penis rise from men in the stands and the press room.
Treat the WTA ladies on as equal a footing as you do the men. After all I have not heard anyone describe any of the men on the ATP Tour as men who seem like they would be good studs or some such.