Beach Volleyball bikinis – Yay or Nay?

It’s no secret that women’s beach volleyball players wear some incredibly skimpy outfits when they compete.

What I guess I didn’t realize is how many pigs are out there only watching them for the T&A. I’ve been pretty appalled by the number of people in my Twitter timeline making sexist remarks about how they shouldn’t even be playing if they can’t do it almost naked. These are friends and other sports writers who I normally agree with and respect.

Here’s the thing – I don’t begrudge these ladies their bikinis. Beach volleyball is a fringe sport that I’m certain struggles to get money and attention. Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are household names and that just wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t do what they do in bikinis. It helps that they’re incredibly talented at it and have won many, many medals and competitions. But people started noticing them because they weren’t wearing many clothes.

And so I say, more power to you, fringe athletes. You do what you need to do to get noticed and get sponsorships and get viewers. You sell your non-profitting selves any which way you can.

Which I suppose isn’t a very feminist point of view. I should be railing against the misogyny that leads to women athletes feeling like they have to use sex appeal to sell themselves and their sport. And while that’s true, it’s a fight we’ve been having for decades and it’s not changing any time soon, so in the meantime, if i looked like these ladies do, I’d be shaking what my mama gave me if it meant TV time and sponsorship money.

So does that make me a hypocrite for getting mad at all the folks who are treating these ladies like pieces of meat instead of world-class athletes?

Follow the jump for Twitter samples and butts. Lots of butts

A quick Twitter search of “beach volleyball” at around 3 pm CST on Thursday brought me this sample of tweets:

@mikebell790 Sunny day in UK, which means bikinis back in women beach volleyball = awesome! Spain may not win today but they get a gold medal for bootie

@scottdools Until my girlfriend said, “Netherlands are winning” I honestly had no idea that they kept score in Beach Volleyball

And the tweet from my own timeline that set me off @blatzliquor Any #olympics where the beach volleyball players have to wear this much clothing is absolutely a failure.

(To be fair to him, his was the tweet that broke the camel’s back, but by far not the only one I saw)

As @heysmell points out, NBC is doing all it can to further the rhetoric:I give up. Gymnastics and cycling results everywhere and on @NBC they’re discussing the size of women’s beach volleyball uniforms. #NBCFail

I get that the T&A make the game more enjoyable for men, but I guess I thought they were still watching the athletes and the game – I thought the T&A was just a bonus – Some butt-cheek lagniappe to their day.

One thing pointed out by @JonahNRO made me re-think my bikini stance a bit…

If you edited out the women’s beach volleyball players high-fiving and hugging plus wedgie extraction, games would take 5 minutes.

Which reminds us that the bikini bottom isn’t exactly comfortable or practical for this particular sport. I know there would be less cheek showing, but would it really be so much more awful for these women to wear the little short-short boyshorts the indoor volleyball players wear?

Of course, then we wouldn’t get pictures like this

Which leads us to the fact that there are an inordinate number of pictures of lady butts taken during beach volleyball. Apparently someone has deemed it socially acceptable to show somewhat covered A, but not so much of the T. You don’t see shots of heaving bosoms packed into sports bras or bikini tops. Nope – it’s all about the bottom half.

The New York Metro began to muse about what would happen if we photographed all Olympic sports the way they do beach volleyball and the results are as fantastic and absurd as you’d imagine…(all pics come from their spread here)

Major props to The Metro’s Nate Jones for objectifying men in a totally absurd and undignified way.

So what do you think? Do I my feminism card for thinking its ok that they wear the bikinis? Am I totally naive to think that folks should enjoy the incredible athleticism with the T&A as the side card?

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