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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Regarding the "soft porn" photo spread (as you put it) in this month's GQ: Is Daniela Hantuchova lying to us when she repeatedly claims that her tennis is all that matters, only to do photos like this? Or, as your comments insinuate, is someone higher up in the WTA-- or, God forbid, managers or agents -- pushing players to parade in front of the cameras in this way? If someone at the WTA is in charge of this, questions need to be raised about the tour's promotional tactics and sense of morality. We all know that sex sells, but the WTA had made a point, pre-Anna Kournikova, of not doing so this blatantly. What's the deal?
—Andrew Keith, Cincinnati

Amen.

The WTA Tour's fingerprints are all over this (perhaps that's an unfortunate choice of words). The tour has, unrepentantly, chosen to peddle the sex appeal of its players, and lately hands were being wrung over who could replace the desultory Kournikova (see: Popova, Simonya). To the WTA braintrust, the GQ photo shoot was a great coup. Here are three more young faces to make sure women's tennis still rates in the babe department. (Some of us in the media were even given a breathless heads-up from WTA HQ that a salacious spread was forthcoming.) Rest assured the players' agents were in on this, too. Suffice to say, magazines aren't going directly to players and convincing them to pose nude on the backs of large mammals.

This subject is ripe for healthy debate. When female athletes pose in various states of undress or underscore their sexuality in other ways, are they empowered? Or are they being exploited? The simple answer is that it's about taste, context and packaging. If in winning her third straight Grand Slam Serena Williams wears a Lycra catsuit on the court that accentuates her form, that's great. If Brandi ("I ran my ass off for this body") Chastain wants to pose naked with a strategically placed soccer ball prior to the World Cup, good for her. If swimmer Jenny Thompson wants to pose topless in Sports Illustrated, flexing her muscles, the photo accompanied by a glowing 2,000-word article about her athletic achievements, more power to her. If Kournikova wants to vamp on the cover of a magazine, and a lengthy article on the inside extols her tennis, so be it.

To issue a blanket condemnation is to end up sounding like the village scold or some moralizing Dr. Laura. Let's also be realistic and acknowledge that if the women posed only in starched linens for tennis-specific magazines, the sport would have the popularity and appeal of the LPGA Tour. The critical question: Is the subject ultimately being portrayed as an athlete or as a sex kitten?

In the latest GQ, the answer is obvious. As the breathless cover blurb "Three Eastern Bloc Hotties Who'll Make You Forget Anna What's-her-name?" would suggest, this is 100 percent cheesecake. Visually, nothing in the spread indicates that these are elite athletes, much less tennis players. Myskina is naked on a horse -- a horse, we're told, that became visibly excited when she hopped aboard. Hantuchova is in a post-coitus pose, her hands behind her head, her legs spread. Elena Dementieva is giving us a glimpse of her panties, one of her hands inexplicably bound. This has nothing to do with celebrating the human form or posing subjects artistically; this is simply (hyper)sexualizing the women in question (and providing fodder for onanists everywhere).

We also have the matter of "informed consent." Chastain was 30, a wife and a stepmom, when she posed naked. Thompson was in her late 20s, a Stanford graduate headed to med school. When, for that matter, a Jason Sehorn poses in his underwear for a Jockey ad, he does so as a thirtysomething married man. Hard to make the case they didn't know what they were getting into. Anyone who has dealt with the three "Eastern Bloc Hotties" in question has to wonder whether they understood the implications of what they were doing. Mary Carillo recently said that Hantuchova is "totally clueless" that she is being marketed as a sex object. And Carillo is right. You have an icky feeling that the three players (none over 21, none raised in the U.S.) were sweet-talked by tour operatives and simply thought this was an easy way to fulfill one of their dreaded Aces obligations. (An aside: When the tour oversees photo shoots of players showing undergarments and laying naked atop horses, can it really be shocked that the sport has a problem with stalkers?)

Perhaps above all, pictorials like this have the effect of trivializing women's tennis and minimizing the achievements of the players. I was a guest on a radio show the other day and a caller phoned in to ask "if that chick who was naked on the horse has a wild reputation." It's a shame that the caller didn't know Myskina's name or care about her tennis abilities, especially since she likely will finish the year in the top 10. It's a worse shame that the WTA Tour is complicit in this.

Pass the hat. Sermon's over. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts
 

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I'm sure Hantuchova and co have minds of there own, nobody complains when the men do anything.

Women aren't helpless, this is the 21st century, equality rules

It's all about £ and $, i'm sure the girls aren't complaining about there little bonuses, most who have it, flaunt it.

Doesn't bother me if a male tennis player wants to pose nude, has no interest to me, as don't Hantuchova, Dementieva or Myskina.

Disaster movies sell, i don't agree with them, but, ho hum, that's life
 

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I tend to be a tad prudish. But I think that's seeing too much into the photos. But I too wish the article was more about tennis, and how the Eastenrn Bloc is producing alot of good tennis players.

I have reservations about Daniela's pose, as Wertheim pointed out. The WTA must be pleased with the photos. But the WTA should be getting a new T.V. deal for their fans that is on a par with the ATP's T.V. contract.

And I hope to see Daniela pull back on some of the glamour photos I've seen of her recently. There really is no need for so much makeup on her. And some of her poses are questionable. Daniela has great potential as a tennis player. And that should take presedence over these glamorous photo shoots.
 

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Jesus. I think, Anastasia, Daniela and Elena are old enough, to know what they do.
I don´t think, someone forced they to do the photos.
They are beautyful young ladies, so why not?
If its got not overdone like Kournikova, whos more interested in modeling and musicclips than in tennis, I don´t see the problem.

This kind of photos can you find in other sports too.
And nobody says one word against it.
 

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Jon got a point, ironic that Sanex WTA just bashed about the Popova fiasco, but then this is all said assuming that GQ hsa arranged those photoshoot with Sanex WTA
 

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werthless writes for a magazine that made my fav pose semi-nude too, it was the shame of her life, she later admitted herself
so werthless should not write such crap in the same magazine!
 

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Daniela, Elena, Anastacia

"ooh we are so dumb, we don't know what we are doing"

"Money, what's that"

"Ooh we are pretty, we musn't use it, we must pretend we are 18th century nuns"

And i thought it was 2002 :rolleyes:
 

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JelenaDokicIsHot said:
Daniela, Elena, Anastacia

"ooh we are so dumb, we don't know what we are doing"

"Money, what's that"

"Ooh we are pretty, we musn't use it, we must pretend we are 18th century nuns"

And i thought it was 2002 :rolleyes:
Well said. :D

And just look at that sinful tennisdresses they wear on the court!!!! :eek:
They should wear highclosed dresses like the one in the 1899! ;)

Come on, people. This holier than the pope attitude is laughable.
All three of the ladies are grown-up women, no little girls.
 

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Money Talks and Sex Sells

I'm sure the Men do it, but i haven't seen it, but then i don't read GQ or anything like it
 

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They're all adults. And I can't believe that Myskina or Hantuchova posed as they did without having some idea that ths was about sex, not tennis. That whole 'manipulated by agents' crap I can do without. The shot I saw of Dementieva had the advantage of being beautiful. It was less hyper-sexualized than the shots of Hantuchova and Myskina.

Serena's catsuit, OTOH, was all about sex, its designer SAID "It makes me feel sexy", AND she pointed out that not many people would wear it because you had to have the body for it. None of this is modesty, but its hard to take her to task for it.

She designed it.
She's wearing it.
She's not trying to sell it to large numbers of other people.
And of course, it doesn't get in the way of her winning.

Take the design out of it, and its rather like Monica in 1991, during her 'I wanna be glam' phase.

If Anastasia Myskina had said, "I ridden horses naked before this, I probably will again and I look REALLY good running, so why don't you come out and see me play." People might have bitched a little, but that would have been the end of it.

Imagine if, at the USOpen, Serena had maintain that the catsuit had nothing to do with sex.

Stop laughing.

That's essentially the WTA's position vis-a-vis marketing sex. They do it. But they refuse to admit it even when its staring us all in the face.
 

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Please. Read the quotes from the girls in the article and you'll see they knew exactly what they were getting into.

Myskina: "...a lot of girls really pretty here [on the Tour]."

Dementieva: "People want to see a good game from you, but it helps if you're pretty."

Hantuchova: "[W]hen the men's side of the crowd comes and watches [the ladies]...it's great for the game."

L. Jon is once again underestimating everyone. These girls know why they posed. "Oh, Nastya, get on this horse for this picture...it's an athletic picture and will have nothing to do with sex. Oh, you'll be naked, of course." Puh-leeeeeeease. They're not STUPID. Meanwhile, since she's taken the pictures she's won a big title and made a big final. And now she has more fans in addition to proving herself as an athlete, in contrast to Kournikova who does this so much more and yet is not proving herself on the court. Sure, there will be goobers like the guy on the radio show, but there were people like that about Mia Hamm and Lisa Leslie and -- dare I say it -- Andre Agassi. They were discovered first because they were found attractive but then people realized that they are great athletes as well! That's how the world works.

I don't have any opinion about the WTA's position in this and neither should anyone else since we don't have any comments about their position and involvement.
 

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This is a window of opportunity in their careers. Injury could end it. They don't have educations. Take the money and run. (And SAVE IT!) It's secondary and a bonus. Why should they turn it down? Music idols, actors, and models do it everyday. I doubt it looks like something bad to them. It might seem glamorous. I just hope that it really helps them make money. Right now, I doubt they got much for posing.
 

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Tennis, like other sports, is no longer just such. It is a business. And publicity, whether negative or positive, seems always to be welcomed.

And the WTA taking umbrage with Wertheim and that fictional story he had in Sports Illustrated is laughable. Hypocritical.

And interestingly that Serena can wear a cat suit but Tommy Haas can't wear a sleeveless shirt. Quite one sided. In that respect perhaps the WTA should run the ATP. Let's make the gawking equal.

And Pete Sampras should get rid of the 16 sizes too large shorts.
 

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I'm sure Hantuchova and co have minds of there own, nobody complains when the men do anything.
That is because the men don't do anything :p (forgiving Moya for posing nude in a tub with a tap blocking his genital region, of course).

Tommy haas so much as shows his arms (as written right above me), and is told to change.

The double standard is a little sickening.

Regarding the actual practice, as I have said all along - the women are marketted as sex objects first, tennis players a VERY distant second.

I'm not sure I object to it - apparently that is what they have to do to make people tune into their sport more, so whatever does it I guess.
 

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Rebecca said:


That is because the men don't do anything :p (forgiving Moya for posing nude in a tub with a tap blocking his genital region, of course).

Tommy haas so much as shows his arms (as written right above me), and is told to change.

The double standard is a little sickening.

....
Hmm... I could swear I saw a picture of tommy hass half/full naked, cupping the breast of his girlfriends breast with his hands. May be I dreamt that but, if that is the case, it might mean I am quite sick ;)

As to wertheim's (sp?), article I have no comment.
 

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You are right, I forgot about Tommy being naughty ;)

My bad :eek:

What I meant was that I think it is unlikely the ATP will make a major push for their men to pose in their jockey's in a womens magzine anytime soon ;) (forgiving the shirtless men in SI for Women of course ;))
 
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