Female Wimbledon Stars Were Polled On Appearance Rather Than Skill By Women's Tennis Association And People Aren't Happy
Every year, Wimbledon fortnight brings exciting spectators, unpredictable weather, strawberries with cream and sexism rows. In an effort for Wimbledon to remain consistent, all of the above made appearances at 2017's tournament.
During the closing weekend, social media expressed its outrage towards the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for holding a poll on their website to allow people to vote for the 'best dressed' female tennis player.
The poll - which is still live - featured nine female tennis stars and said, 'it's time for you to vote for your favourite Wimbledon whites!', to encourage people to vote.
The poll featured descriptions about each of the women's outfits, comparing and contrasting the players' wardrobe choices: 'While the world number one [Angelique] Kerber pairs her adidas London Tank with its matching laser-cut Climacool skirt, her competitor for the top spot in the WTA rankings [Simona Halep] switches between the skirt and stretch woven shorts from the striking collection.'
Having shared the poll across their social media channels, the WTA received responses from furious tennis fans.
One Facebook user wrote: 'Since it is 2017 I expect the ATP to have a similar post about the men's outfits.'
Twitter users also hit back, with one tweeting: 'very poor - how about celebrating these women as athletes not clothes horses.'
It wasn't just social media that was pissed though; charity Women In Sport opened up about their disappointment towards the fashion poll. Chief executive Ruth Holdaway said:
'By focusing on the appearance of women, this poll diverts much needed attention away from the pure talent and athleticism on display from these players. The WTA is reinforcing the notion that image is important for women and girls when playing sport – which is likely to put them off - rather than highlighting the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits of physical activity which will inspire many to give it a go.'
Responses from female tennis players has been mixed, with British number two Heather Watson labelling it as 'fun', whilst former world number four Magdalena Maleeva described it as 'sexist'.
Female athletes have always struggled to be treated and respected equally to their male counterparts, and having an international governing body for women's tennis highlighting players' appearances rather than their skill is not only setting a poor example, but is disheartening as women fight to be recognised in sport.