It’s unfortunate that professional athletes, and women in particular, are still unfairly criticized trivial details concerning their hair, weight or femininity, rather than their performance as athletes, which is wrong on SO many levels.
Criticism like that also sends a negative message to the younger generation who look up to those athletes for guidance. With that being said, there’s good news on this front.
Dove has partnered with former gymnast Shawn Johnson to release a new #MyBeautyMySay campaign which raises awareness about this behavior, and challenges media outlets to focus more on the things that matter.
The campaign is an extraordinarily simple, yet effective letter to the media. It uses commentary from unnamed media outlets about female athletes’ looks, to expose just how often they’re studied in this excruciating way.
[Her] ass is… quality.” Pop Culture Site 5/23/16
“Huge nipples.” Pop Culture Site 7/10/16
Yeah, comments like that.
Speaking about how negative comments and critiques have affected her, Johnson said,“I was at this competition to compete as a world-class athlete, but so much of the conversation was about how I looked. I was being told by the media, and the world, that I was ‘too muscular,’ that I had ‘too much bulk,’ that I was ‘too short,’ that I ‘looked too young.’ People even said that I had ‘big ears!'”
The director of marketing for Dove is Jennifer Bremner, and she explained her goal with the campaign. “[Dove hopes to] encourage people everywhere to join the conversation and challenge and push back against the negative commentary regarding female athletes’ looks versus their performance. If you want to criticize them, criticize them on the field, not how they look playing the game.”
Dove is furthering their reach by encouraging people to tweet at media outlets who have used this language toward athletes, using the hashtag, #MyBeautyMySay.
You can watch the campaign here, it’s guaranteed to ignite a spark.