Women's groups slam 'sexist' tennis stunt

3rd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2005, MADRID – Women's organisations have again accused the organisers of the Masters Series in Madrid of sexism for auditioning women to be "sexy" ballgirls.

3 August 2005

MADRID – Women's organisations have again accused the organisers of the Masters Series in Madrid of sexism for auditioning women to be "sexy" ballgirls.

It's the second year that the tennis tournament has been criticised for the practice. Last year, even Andre Agassi expressed concern about the use of models who wear short skirts and skin-tight tops as they collect the balls.

He said he didn't think it was the right way to promote tennis.

The then Secretary for Equality, Soledad Murillo, also said the stunt was "sexist and unsporting".

None of that criticism, though, has stopped the Spanish organisers, who promise this year's ballgirls will wear a uniform that is even sexier than last year.

This week, they started auditioning for women who will collect balls in one in 10 matches at the tournament at Casa de Campo from 15-23 October. Children aged 12-16 will be used in the rest, as in other tennis tournaments.

About 120 women went to the auditions, which were organised by one of the sponsors, to select 50 models.

The Women's Council of Madrid slammed the use of model ballgirls, stating the practice objectified women and peddled stereotypes. Spanish women were being used, she said, as decorative objects, despite the fact that female sportswomen from Spain are competing at the top in numerous sports.

Ángeles Álvarez, the president of the Feminist Network against Violence, demanded that the Spanish authorities ensure that not a cent of public funding was being spent on the stunt. Taxpayers shouldn't be funding "sexist activities against women".

The Federation of Progressive Women also expressed its dismay about the repeat of the practice, despite the criticism expressed last year. However, president Enriqueta Chicano said the trouble was that there had been a "lack of reaction" from society as a whole, apart from women's groups.

"We're a part of society and we must fight for a change in the way we think," she said.

She said progress had been made in reducing the use of women as decorative objects in other sports.

The sponsor responsible for the auditions told EFE the initiative was simply designed to introduce "a little glamour" to the competition. "Spectators look for a show," said the source.

"Beautiful women are used in other sporting events like Formula 1 and even in the congresses of political parties and don't create such an outcry."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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