Are Women’s Basketball Sites Getting Too Sexy?

Take a look at the photo below, from Texas A&M’s women’s basketball site (it’s also a poster). Too much? Are some women’s college teams, like Florida State, depicting their athletes in the sexiest ways possible, so as to distance themselves from the lesbian stereotype? I ask because I care.

(Sexy poster, or deleted scene from HBO’s “Big Love”?)

Jayda Evans, who covers college and pro women’s basketball for the SEATTLE TIMES, says that’s exactly what’s going on at some schools. She looks at the photo above, and others like it, and says, “I’m just concerned the sexualized look continues a different, damaging constant in women’s hoops — homophobia.” Whoa. Rebuttal? Yep.

Chantelle Anderson, Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer who played for three teams in the WNBA, lets Evans have it in a post on WOMEN TALK SPORTS, where she is a regular contributor. Have at it, ladies. (Notice how I avoided the term “catfight”? … oops).

From Evans’ story in the SEATTLE TIMES:

What FSU has blatantly done is sexualized basketball. Sure, it may draw recruits — what young woman wouldn’t want to be part of a glamorous photo shoot? And I have to give FSU props, the site is cool, fresh and innovative.

But what are they selling? I thought the “target audience” was recruits who sign to play hoops (and get an education)? You do get a sense of the players as people on the site, yet there’s not much basketball going on. And if anything is placed before “athlete,” isn’t it supposed to be “student” not “sex?”

FSU isn’t alone. In the Big 12, Texas A&M released its media guide (pictured above) featuring its players in sexy (some split leg) black cocktail dresses and pants with coach Gary Blair in the middle. You have to hunt for the one basketball and the way Blair is adjusting his tie gives a creepy feeling.

From Anderson’s response on WOMEN TALK SPORTS:

Personally, I think the Texas A&M poster above looks hot (you go girls!). And while Florida State’s website may be slightly over the top, I think their minds were in the right place too.

It’s true that people sometimes use phrases like “powerful, beautiful, strong, and accomplished,” to imply heterosexuality. But to say it absolutely stands for that is prejudicial against all female athletes, gay and straight. Are you telling me that a lesbian cannot/should not be considered beautiful? Do lesbians not wear jewelry, or make-up, or dresses? And because a straight woman embraces the chance to show her femininity, does that mean she has something against her homosexual counterparts? To answer yes to these questions is unfair on both fronts.

Chantelle Anderson

(Chantelle Anderson with her mind in the right place)

Ms. Anderson is indeed no shrinking violet; among her alleged escapades are smoking weed just before a WNBA drug test, and holding a gun to her head at a drug dealer’s house.

Another point to all of this is, one’s man’s sexy is another man’s “so what?” I don’t consider the photo at the top of this post especially provocative at all … just some chicks getting ready to go out to dinner. They’re attractive and all, but all the picture does is make me think of excuses so that I don’t have to go. I want to stay home and watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “SportsCenter.”