So Wimbledon is finally over, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief for two different reasons. First of all, I don't enjoy tennis; it's dull as anything and so far as I can tell, designed exclusively for the upper classes. Who else would pay £12 for strawberries? However, for the week Wimbledon was on, I happened to be working in an office full of people who think tennis is the sport of kings, or possibly Gods, and as such the big screen in the reception area where I worked was duly switched to the BBC for all day coverage, leading to there constantly being a gaggle of suited bankers hanging around my desk all day chatting almonst themselves (or worse, to me) about the tennis. This, in case you were wondering when I was going to get to it, leads me to the second reason I'm glad Wimbledon is over: it brought out amongst these men and women such misogyny that I had to spend seven hours a day restraining myself from reaching over the desk and smacking them in the mouth.
I speak, of course, about Venus And Serena Williams. Now I never heard anyone once comment on Andy Murray's physique (a bit weedy looking, if you ask me) or ponder if the male player who was 6'7 had an unfair advantage. But when it came to the Williams sisters, two dedicated atheletes who are famously known for having the muscular physiques of, um, a dedicated athelete, the bile poured.
"Oh, I hope she doesn't win - look at her, she looks like a man", "yuck, I hope she gets knocked out, she's revolting, so manly", "it's unfair for them to get this far, they look like men", "I prefer Venus to Serena, at least she's a bit more feminine looking..." - yep, my charming colleagues, male and female, were rooting against two talented players because they don't have the most feminine of physiques (I'd also ask whoever wrote the book saying muscles were a masculine attribute, but I fear that's a different topic for a different day).
It just goes to show how thin the veneer of equality we have these days truly is. Yes, we can have female atheletes but heaven forbid they actually *look* like atheletes. Women players now get equal prize money to men, but we only really approve if they remain slim and delicate, and you know, non-threatening. Because that's what it's about, isn't it? We, men and women, don't like strong women, still. Women should be fragile, delicate, submissive, or so the Patriarchy would have us believe, so we freak out when someone comes along who challenges that ideal.
Add to that the fact that Wimbledon officials have admitted to putting the most attractive female players on centre court, regardless of ranking, or the importance of the match (hence Serena Williams, 2nd in the world found herself playing an important match on court number 2, which attracts virtually no tv coverage while two unknown but nubile blonde beauties battled it out for the cameras on the centre stage) and the constant lingering close-ups of whichever women in the audience that day had made the sartorial mis-step of wearing a low-cut top in the sweltering heat, and I think we can all agree tennis is a strong contender for the prestigious title of Most Sexist Sport Ever.