Yesterday I watched a video that showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. Nowadays, my newsfeed is so saturated with videos and pictures and ads that I hardly even bother to click on them anymore, but this video looked interesting enough for me to take the few minutes out of my day to watch it.
The video is from #CoverTheAthlete, and it starts off with an interviewer going around a bunch of different kinds of male sports teams, asking what seems like ridiculous questions, such as, “If you could date anyone in the world, who would you date?” and what designers they are wearing. The interviewer even asks one of the athletes, “Can you give us a twirl?” in order to show off his outfit. In the video, the athlete just stares at him as if he has suddenly sprouted a second head.
The video is clearly trying to show the extreme differences between what questions are expected to be asked of female vs. male athletes. But during the beginning and middle of the video, I found myself thinking, “This is too absurd. There is no way that anyone is asking these types of questions when they are interviewing athletes—male or female.”
There was one more question at the end of the video, but it was being asked of a woman, not a man, and it looked as if it were actually broadcasted. A male interviewer’s voice says to the 38th ranked female tennis player in the world, Eugenie Bouchard, “Can you give us a twirl?” And when she repeats, confused, “A twirl?”, he replies, “Yes a twirl, like a pirouette!”
Now, this at first may not seem like a huge deal. So what? He asks about her outfit, what’s the problem? But then I thought about how the male athletes had reacted when they were asked the questions that females are asked every day. And I realized that it truly is absurd that the female athletes are not only asked about their performance, or their ability, but about their appearance. Male athletes do not need to worry about this, as evidenced by their reactions in the video, they clearly are not asked those kinds of questions very often.
All of this is something that not only female athletes, but all women must face on a daily basis. The beauty standard keeps rising and changing, and we are expected to rise and change along with it. We are expected to look our best, and perform our best (but looking best is more important.) Actresses, on the red carpet, are constantly paraded and looked up and down, objectified by the clothes they wear, and they faces they bear. Even women just walking down the street—depending on where they are—must be mindful of the situation and the people surrounding them, as they do not know if they will be catcalled, or whistled at, simply based on their appearance.
Brookhaven Retreat, LLC advocates self-care—looking and feeling good about yourself by getting your hair and nails done, and by placing enough effort in your appearance to feel good about yourself. However, the idea that all women must adhere to a certain type of beauty standard is abusive and corrosive towards the leaps and bounds that women make to feel better about themselves. No woman wants to be hounded about her appearance day in and day out. We all want to be comfortable with ourselves, and not have to worry about how others perceive us. And Brookhaven Retreat is a place to allow women to do that—to find the balance between self-care and self-consciousness in the face of society.