Friday, 12 August 2016

Fires and female athletes!

On a quite crowded train yesterday the conductor, inspecting tickets, was joking about people travelling to Pontevedra to see the fires!!! A joke in poor taste if you ask me. Fires are also raging in Portugal and hundred of people have been evacuated from their homes in parts of Marseilles in southern France. Perhaps there is something to be said for rain after all. 

I haven't worked out whether the smoke and ash clouds hanging around in the sky are making it hotter or not. Either way, it remains sticky. There is a small group of us who have found the cool spot here at the chess tournament: just outside the back door, in the shade and with an occasional touch of a breeze. So long as the wasp who was pestering me a few minutes ago does not come back, all is well. 

With all our coming and going, I have seen next to nothing of the Olympic Games. Not that I would have been glued to a screen anyway but it's always good to know what is going on. Last night, finally, I saw a bit of the gymnastics. I was just about to comment to Phil that at least the girls competing did not look pre-pubescent, like the young Rumanian Nadia Comaneci back in 1976 (even though she was actually 15), when along came one who looked to be about ten! 

What did strike me was how over-made-up the female gymnasts were. Perfect matt foundation, blusher, elaborate eye make-up and hair smoothed up into a tight bun. That last element is understandable, indeed a sensible idea. But why do they have to be made-up at all? Why are their leotards made of such shiny fabric? Why are they tarted up? 

You don't see the girls running or doing the long jump or the high jump dressed up as if for a beauty competition. Does this imply that gymnastics is not a sport in the same way that athletics or football or basketball are? The same seems to apply to synchronised swimming. Mind you, I tend to regard that as a bit of a joke sport. I recognise that it demands a high level of skill but even so! 

However, even the women athletes in "serious" sports outfits are criticised by the press far more than those of the male athletes. I have even seen interviews where they have asked female medal winners why they are not smiling! 

Sexism seems to be alive and well in the world of sport.

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