#LFL – League For Losers… ultimately

When I first read about it, being mentioned in an article about some broader topic, I pictured the Lingerie Football League to be a steamy calender with a Miss January, February, March… and so forth, representing various football teams of some particular league somewhere. They would of course appear in lingerie or bikinis themed according to the team they represent, maybe holding a ball or a team flag of some sort.

 

                                  – See bottom of post for official “rebranding” of LFL as of 13 January 2013 –

 

It was to my surprise however that I recently came face to face with the real deal, the name being more literal than I thought at first: it is actual women playing (American styled) football wearing lingerie and some protective gear. Not too much gear though, as the point of the game is for the fans in the crowd to actually get to see some flesh. Sort of a glorified and more structured version of women’s mud wrestling but with the focus on lingerie and what it does not cover. My first thought actually when I saw the ad campaigns and read articles about how the process of recruiting players and the actual match days work was: oh, it’s sport meets porn; men pay to watch sport and they pay to watch porn, let’s combine the two and make more money. It puts a bit of a ‘family friendly’ twist on it though as it’s not men watching women dance on tables or swinging around a pole for entertainment but they are playing a ‘sport’ you see.

 

 

 

I’m going to be dead honest now, being quite the sports fan myself, I don’t find women’s rugby, cricket or soccer as entertaining or exhilarating as I do that of their male counterparts. It’s simply not at the same level and intensity. Some might even accuse me of being biased or sexist for saying that but the point is, I think I represent the majority of men in that respect. I will support a female team if they represent my country at a major event and will applaud any female athlete if she achieved some high award in her specific discipline. I will not go out of my way however to get tickets to go and watch those sports and neither would most other fellows. The only reason so many men are getting excited about Lingerie Football is because it is another ‘product’, birthed in the porn industry, presented to them for consumption. Another medium of satisfaction provided to still the hunger which was initially created by the very people now selling it to them – by the media, through the media. How was that for stating the obvious? I felt I had to say it as such though before I continue.

 

In discovering the latest craze the US is trying to export to Australia (or is it Ausland trying to import it?)* I came across two brave women who realised that in order to stand a better chance of slaying this dragon they might have to actually enter its den. Sydney university student Tal Stone went in first as she signed up for the trials through which girls tried to qualify for future Australian based squads. She discovered first hand that the point of this game was to entertain the crowds (I now imagine one girl destroying all the rest looking at LFL founder Mitch Mortaza shouting ala Maximus: “Are you not entertained!” because that’s basically what it comes down to), not necessarily by means of scoring touch downs but instead by having the typical porn girl look and attitude. And in this I sadly realised once again how quite a few girls are buying into this in order to be cheered on by men and in the process find some solace in the slurs thrown at them. Next up it was Sydneysider Deb Malcolm who chose to enter the unknown although she might have had some idea of what to expect. Inside it was a man’s (or should I say a boy hooked on porn rather?) dream: sporty hot girls in lingerie tackling one another, occasionally underwear come off, lots of beer, an environment encouraging one to express thoughts about sexual ideas and fantasies even, and a general rude and dominating attitude towards women. (Follow links attached to their names to read their full reports).

 

 

I then went on and posted these reports to my facebook profile asking: “Lingerie Football League: it’s like dog fights, only they use real women (that stuff the previous generation called mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, etc.). How sad is this?”

A friend of mine responded by asking whether the women are forced to participate and saying that if they aren’t it is I that portray them as victims and in effect am disempowering and belittling them saying they weren’t able to decide for themselves whether they wanted to be there. He asked why men can do depraved things and then we say it is their choice but when women does it they are victims and “women, if empowered, are empowered to do whatever they please – including to offend?”

 

I’m not sure what exactly he meant by ‘offend’ as he didn’t respond to any further of my replies but the only people offended in all this are the Lingerie Footballers themselves and all other women who have to further suffer under the treatment of women as sex objects the world over.

 

I likened it to a homeless man desperate for money, food or drink. I have witnessed and heard of situations where, typically, bored (and most likely intoxicated) students would offer such a man money to perform some crazy act for their entertainment. He agrees to perform what they asked of him in the hope that he completes the task unscathed and that it doesn’t cost him more than the money or food they hand him once he’s done. On his face you can also see that he does enjoy the attention and praise as it’s something he doesn’t receive too often, even if he knows at the same time they can’t really care less.

 

Homeless man agreed to what ever they asked of him, he excercised a choice. Let’s say they gave him exactly what they told him and even a bit more. The typical legalistic man always turning to ‘the law’ (or constitution), only interested in his own rights would say this is all good. I would disagree however.

 

My aim would be to act in a way that is beneficial to society and the individuals forming part of it. I would call the aforementioned situation exploitation. These guys used the homeless man’s desperation for their own entertainment, to escape for a brief while from their own unsatisfied position. They had the option to just give him food and a word of encouragement or maybe restore some honour to him and ask him to wash their car and pay him in return for work which is more respectable to the ridiculous act he just performed.

 

In Australia some men apparently responded by likening LFL apparel to men in speedos or wrestling hot pants, saying, like my friend on facebook did, that if men are allowed to do so women ought to be allowed to dress like that too. Once again I will differ with that opinion. Back to the homeless guy and his student ‘friends’. If the homeless guy said no to the offer, walked off and one of the students volunteered to his mates that he’ll take up the challenge for a beer, the humiliation is not the same because the context is so much different. For men to even play sports naked (as some rugby club in New Zealand does) is a joke in cultural context, while for women to even work as promo girls at clubs or sporting events could be potentially humiliating within our culture where they are being sexually objectified around ever corner, literally on billboards and bus stops.

 

I consider the Lingerie Football League and its proponents to work according to the exact same model. Women are paid to entertain men in a way that reaffirms their lowly view of those and all other women in general. These women might even say to me they feel empowered and enjoy what they’re doing but I’ll say to them the same I would to the homeless man: you’re being taken for a ride while you’re worth way more than that. It’s called sexploitation.

 

An article On a Woman’s Right to Play Football in her Knickers

 

 

Serv.

 

*It is a common trend in Australian sports broadcasting (and maybe some other things too?) that they adopt American ways. Please don’t, as an Aussie-appreciating South African I believe we have something unique to offer in the South still.

 

 

PS

A significant change in the branding of LFL and how girls will be presented has occurred on 9 January 2013 at the official launch of its new image:

The Lingerie Football League has announced that it will be rebranding itself to more accurately reflect its position as the “most successful women’s sports league” by focusing on the actual athletics of it. The LFL will be changing its name to the Legends Football League and that players replace the bras, panties, and garter belts for more traditional uniforms and protective padding…the league will also remove “any sexy female figures” from the logo, redesign the shoulder pads to increase protection, and change the tag line from “True Fantasy Football” to “Women of the Gridiron.” The rebranding is clearly designed to highlight the athletes instead of their tits and asses. jezebel.com

 

Official launch video: LFL rebranded

 

This seems, however, only a way of making the ‘soft porn’ aspect of the brand less obvious.

 

 

 

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About Servaas Hofmeyr

For life through Truth.
This entry was posted in Ethics, Human Behaviour, Sexualisation. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to #LFL – League For Losers… ultimately

  1. CS360 says:

    A very well written article exposing more truths about this Lingerie football league. Why women would subject themselves to this kind of abuse the owner of the league puts them through is still a mystery. It is good to see people are not falling for all the smoke and mirrors the LFL has to offer. For more information as to exactly how this guy who runs this thing operates I urge you to view these shows I have done concerning the mis-treatment of the women who played in the LFL….http://youtu.be/257BJiEqjUYhttp://youtu.be/zyV7nAxYnYohttp://youtu.be/oQbqwoLZE9Ehttp://youtu.be/4kMkpXVH7Co

  2. Simon says:

    Worst. Analogy. Ever.LFL player vs. a homeless man. Homeless man has little or no ability to earn money for himself and relies on people – either teasing him, donating to him or getting him to wash a car – to generate funds to survive. A LFL player could a) play LFL or b) work anywhere else doing any other job. The difference here is that a LFL has a raft of choices she could make in her life and chooses one that you find incomprehensible. Unfortunately for you, that is what freedom is all about and that is what makes us human. "To err is human, to forgive divine." Alexander PopeBuild a bridge. Get over it. And go and help someone, somewhere who cannot help themselves: like the 5 million children that die worldwide every year from curable diseases.

  3. serv says:

    Thanks for your response Simon, the starving children has nothing to do with this issue however but I'm helping them too anyway – well, not all of them as 5 million is a bit much for my budget to cover. Are you of the opinion that as long as people are starving no other issue is worth looking into and criticising?Perhaps rather not use the dire situation starving children (over whom you lie awake at night as their desperate situation troubles you greatly I understand) find themselves in to defend the exploitation of women. Do you rate entertainment as something money should rather be spent on or starving children in stead?Freedom is awesome yes, it affords me the opportunity to criticise bad choices and people who exploit others.Mortaza and many of the fans are like the students who create and induldge in an opportunity to exploit women.My criticism is mainly on Mortaza and the like who has the full right (it seems – although the working environment and benefits do not seem the best) to exploit these women according to law but believe the better man would not do it just because he can. the better student would not exploit and demean the homeless man just because he can do it.In the light of my blog theme however, share why you think LFL values women and advances their position in society (if you do?) and does not demean them. Your view would be interesting to hear.

  4. Devon says:

    Why would the LFL need to advance the female species? It's just an entertainment venture. The comparison between a homeless man and a LFL player is ludicrous. One has little to no options, while the other has several options to make money. You're telling me that the LFL us any more egregious than what Hollywood and the comic book industry do on a daily basis? Look at how female characters are drawn, look at what actresses must look like in order to be successful. Hell, look at what female NEWS ANCHORS go through just to report legitimate news. These are all problems that came along WAAAY before the LFL existed. If women, or our society for that matter, we're as outraged as you seem to imply, these problems would have been corrected DECADES ago. The LFL is only a more in your face representation of what problems already inherently exist in the way that women are seen. Think about the fact that the WNBA, a female pro basketball league, is said to be going bankrupt and could go out of business anytime. Yet, the LFL is one the the fastest growing sports leagues in the continent of North America. There is practically NO INTEREST in women playing sports in the US. No baseball team, no hockey team, no "legitimate" football league. Still, somehow, the LFL us massively successful. That speaks volumes as to what people actually want to see from women athletes. The owner is simply being a capitalist. Fix the inherent problems with the way that women are viewed in our society and the maybe there would be no need for the LFL to exist. Well written article though except for the homeless man comparison.

  5. serv says:

    Haha. Yes, the homeless man comparison seems to not sit well with people but as I responded to Simon previously, the focus of my comparison is not so much on the homeless man and LFL players but on the exploiters, the capatilists you mention. And yes, you sum the situation up pretty well re women in sport and that a culture has been bred long ago which brought us to the place where no one is really interested in women's sport unless they're über-hot or scantily (along porn themes even) clad – or simply communicate sex, as we saw once again during the recent London 2012 Olympics with the hype around women's beach volley ball. Of course we do appreciate great feats by ladies such as Yelena Isinbayeva who competed against herself for quite a few years as she dominated women's pole vault but given that she's relatively good looking too, how much of a fuss would've been made about her achievements had she not fit the media's mold? While guys are rated purely on their achievements?Consider for instance this article by Melinda Tankard Reist: Gold Medal for Sexism http://melindatankardreist.com/2012/08/gold-medal-for-sexism/ and then Beach Volleyball not as attractive in London http://www.sportlive.co.za/moresport/olympics/2012/08/01/beach-volleyball-not-as-attractive-in-londonAlso, the fact that Leryn Franco is currently almost the best known female javelin thrower without really having to perform that well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/olympics-2012-leryn-franco-sex-appeal-photos_n_1679923.htmlNot that men can and should be forced to not find women attractive and get excited about it but it does pose a question to us as men and a society as a whole (because women do play along and aim to qualify for roles suggested by the media too): do we want to keep on feeding this narrative where women are continually portrayed as nothing but hot and relatively seldom celebrated for any other reasons?

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