There’s this guy I know. He’s a decent guy, for real. Not a Chauvinist, not a pig, just a nice guy. But we had this conversation the a while back that got under my skin.
He was involved in some peripheral and not-high-cool-factor way with the Olympics. He told me, “You wanna know the number one thing people want to see on the Olympics website? The slide show of the US women’s hockey team members. And numbers two, three and four are other pictures of women athletes.” I guess these other ones are sort of racy pictures, maybe even light porn. You know, accidental nipple and crotch shots and that kind of thing.
When I heard about the hockey team, I thought that was pretty cool. I don’t really do sports, but even I have a soft spot for women’s hockey. Of course people wanted to see them. My guy went on to say it just really struck him how much Sex is what sells. I bit just a little at the suggestion that the hockey women and the porno shots were the same thing. I hadn’t seen them, but I just didn’t buy the idea that people were getting their thrills by looking at the US women’s hockey team.
He said, “Well, you have to see the pictures. Some of them are in V-neck sweaters, sitting on fences, some are even taken in what looks like a women’s bathroom with a red light in the background.” V-neck sweaters! Ooooh, how erotic. Sitting on fences? Oh my goodness.
Now I hadn’t see the pics, so I couldn’t argue too forcibly. Maybe these chicks were sell-outs sleazing for the camera. Later in the day, he’s sitting with his computer and when I approach, he turns it my way, “Here’s the pictures.”
Two things I want you to keep in mind right now, maybe three. One, this is at least the second time this guy has looked at these pictures in one day. Two, he hadn’t gone looking for the pictures to show me. I just happened by. Thirdly, the pictures were really not that interesting to me. Normal, healthy young women. Some in street clothes, some in their hockey gear. Some clearly had breasts and hips. All could easily take my dear friend in a bar fight.
But one of two things seemed to me to be happening. Either these pictures were doing something sort of exciting for this guy and a lot of other guys. Because here he was looking at them AGAIN. And because when he described the hits on the website, he lumped them together with the accidental porno shots. Or it didn’t occur to him that people could possibly be interested in women’s hockey and the players for non-sexual reasons.
Maybe women who can kick your ass are secretly very exciting to men all over the world. Maybe it’s just curiosity about what kind of woman plays hockey (which only explains one hit per person). Maybe the hits are women, who are more interested in the actual people who are playing the sport than other kinds of fans.
I wonder what’s going on here? With this good guy and all the other guys out there hitting on the same pictures. It isn’t disappointing or surprising, just curious. I’m interested to know if it’s me, or if this really something I need him to think harder about (though I know for damn sure, he doesn’t need to do anymore research into the subject).