Female tennis players, their outfits, and the sexist press

Tabloids love to unleash their fury on famous women for their "wardrobe malfunctions". Even when they don't happen. 

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Female tennis players, their outfits, and the sexist press - NewsMavens
Camila Giorgi, Birmingham 2018, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Treating clothing choices as an object of permanent "surveillance", while seizing any opportunity for public shaming, is something that the media do almost exclusively to women. Cheap tabloid headlines about female celebrities' "wardrobe mishaps" are also a good source of revenue -- they're sure to get clicks, likes and shares stemming from the voyeuristic instincts of their readers.

These headlines are bad enough when they are based on real events. But some go as far as inventing them, even when they never happened. This was the case with recent "reporting" on Camila Giorgi, a tennis player from Italy, which was published in several online portals in Serbia and Bosnia:

TENNIS PLAYER CAUSED CHAOS WHEN SHE APPEARED WITH NO PANTIES ON: She even lifted up her skirt to show that she's not wearing any! 

Giorgi was playing a match in Tokyo in a standard sports outfit, shorts included. The author of this article knew it, too. The text eventually "reveals" the obvious, but the way the correct information was presented was anything but correct. It was paired with sexist comments about Giorgi's body, while simultaniously reprimanding HER for "taking her outfit choice too far this time". Peak level of hypocrisy was reached here:

"In the meantime, careful onlookers concluded that Camila is wearing panties after all, but the fact remains that she chose an inappropriate outfit. Still, social networks are full of sighs of admiration for her curves. Nobody even mentions the match score."  

Once again, shaming women for what they do or don't wear is never appropriate. But this incident -- inventing an athlete's "clothing transgression" and then accusing her for "going too far" -- is really something else. 

Details from the story:

  • The piece was first published in an online women's magazine in Serbia, Blic Žena.
  • While the magazine is supposed to be "for women", this is not its first outright sexist article -- it has published fake news about women before. 
  • The initials under the text suggest that its author could also be a woman.“T.G.” corresponds to the name Tamara Gligorijević, listed in the website's impressum. We haven't been able to establish this fact with certainty, as the magazine never responded to request for comment.
  • The article was illustrated with two photographs of Giorgi on the tennis court, her body blurred from the waist down to support the headline's claim that she was not wearing underwear. 
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