What do women have to do with Soccer? Nothing, unless they're naked.

A recent marketing campaign for the Vancouver Whitecaps has gone viral, garnering a lot of attention which, I suppose, was their intent. And what better way to promote anything than to use women’s naked bodies! Works every time.

First, it was announced that there would be a ‘find-the-billboard’ contest; the billboard, which went up last week, featured a model who has a Whitecaps jersey painted onto her body:

and then, a video was released, showing the model being painted:

As pointed out, aptly, by Vancouver forestry executive and novelist, Anne Giardini: this is not what women who are interested in soccer look like. They, rather, look like they are playing soccer. And more often than not, they are clothed!

Using women’s bodies as accessories in advertising, and as entertainment for sports fans, rather than allowing them to just be participants in the sport, or simply to be fans, without the focus being on their sexualized body parts is so unbelievably typical that it is hardly surprising at this point. But enough already. Not only is this the least creative way of ‘getting the word out’ about a sports team, but it completely marginalizes women and makes painfully clear what their role is in sports. The role, being, of course, decorative.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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