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Sex, Evening Wear, Limos and Women's Hoops

Sex, Evening Wear, Limos and Women's Hoops

Much ado has been made about Florida State's Women's basketball team's sexy, evening-gown clad photo spread. Are the photos of the lady Seminoles, sexist, homophobic, in poor taste, or just trying to emulate The L Word's final scene? With the ongoing issue of invisible lesbians in women's sports, the evening gown shoot does raise some questions. 

Sex,Sexuality, or Sports. What are they trying to sell here? That's the question buzzing around women's hoops after Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times went web surfing to Florida State's new women's basketball website. The new look has players stepping out of a limo in evening dresses. Evans points out in her article that in addition to putting glamour first and foremost, this more sexualized look raises that ever-present specter of homophobia in women's sports. Or were they just trying to emulate The L Word'sfinal scene? Just kidding...

Katy Kelleher of Jezebel.com and Jim Buzinski of Outsports.com both picked up the debate. Was it homophobia, sexism or just the desire to glam up the ladies playing the sports? Thoughtful articles sparked great comments that were all over the board. I checked out the Seminoles' site myself, and thought it was done in good spirit and good taste. Underneath each player's limo shot were other court shot pics and shots with friends.  This seems to be the new trend, because Florida State isn't the only school to go the dressy route.

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Texas A&M has a poster out with the team also in black eveningwear. The problem that Outsports pointed out is head coach Gary Blair. He stands in the middle of the players pushing up his tie like a perverted uncle or pimp. Buzinski called it "creepy" and I agree.

I've definitely got questions after reading those articles and the subsequent comments. Who thought up the new image idea-the players or some ad team? Who are they targeting--potential students, recruiters, or fans?

It seemed that everyone was in agreement that there was no overt homophobia in putting lady athletes in dresses, but what are those schools saying? I'd love to think that feminine doesn't equal heterosexual, but that's not the stereotype that continues to be perpetuated. Add to that negative recruiting practices-that school has a lot of lesbians, so you don't want to go there-and you have the same old problem that plagues women's sports. What bothers me is that sexist or homophobic, the selling tactics are different for the men than they are for the women and I wish they could be brought to the same standard.

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Helen Wortham