Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (auth.)

By Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (auth.)

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Com. ”50 The metrosexual identity was soon harnessed by the media and advertisers in the interests of capitalism. Embodied by celebrity athletes such as David Beckham, Michael Jordan and Ian Thorpe, the concept was used to promote sales of high-end consumer brands ranging from men’s underwear and skin care products to watches and jewellery. Advertisers quickly disassociated metrosexuality from queerness, and the original, less marketable idea of the male “dandy” evolved to become a heterosexual man who was in touch with his so-called feminine side.

Liberal routes to equality Both Lorde’s and Franklin’s insights can be applied to Olympic sport. History shows that the inclusion of greater numbers of women and other underrepresented groups has done little or nothing to change Olympic sporting practices and the dominance of the faster/higher/stronger sport model. 1057/9781137291158 The Limits of Liberalism 41 in order to equalize women’s involvement. Decades of lobbying the IOC for more Olympic sports and events for women and more women in Olympic governance reflected a liberal preoccupation with simply levelling the playing field, while failing to examine whether it was worthwhile to gain entry to that field, or whether increased female participation would produce unanticipated negative consequences.

These mediated images of body + performance play a key role in the gender politics of the Olympics. Social structures Finally, the social structures that make up the Olympic industry – the IOC, international sport federations (IFs), national Olympic committees (NOCs) and state or provincial sports governing bodies – represent the fundamental seat of Olympic power. When Coubertin revived the ancient Olympic Games, he famously pronounced his goal as “exaltation of male athleticism,” with women’s role reduced to spectators and mothers, bearing and raising athletic sons.

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