Women and girls are in the midst of a cultural sexualisation and exploitation crisis across all spectrums of our lives and impacting us in many harmful ways. According to the Australian Sports commission such sexualised promotions are “reason enough for some girls and women to choose another sport or even no sport at all”. Watch this 40 second video which emphasizes this powerfully Continue reading
So you are a female athlete and you think the Lingerie Football League could be an opportunity to get yourself on the international stage. There are a few things to seriously consider first.
Do you have model or porn star looks, figures and sex appeal first and foremost over your athletic ability? Are you happy to be verbally abused, continually? Are you happy to sign waivers so the LFL holds no responsibily if you are injured in tryouts? Are you happy to be mocked for being a women trying to compete with other women by the US LFL players? Are you okay with being subjected to what is typically male sexist language and gestures towards women from US LFL players? If you don’t hold up to the LFL’s idea of how violent the game is and should be played, are you okay with being told you are “waisting their f’ng time” and continual put downs?
And one final question you should ask yourself is – do you really want to be a part of a franchise that not only exploits women for profit, endorses girl on girl violence with very little physically protection and no compensation if injured, but also treats women individually in this way?
One brave young athlete and university student went on the inside to find out not only what the tryouts would be like, but how the LFL treats it’s potential players first hand and what their policy on health and safety for their players entailed – if any.
I took my place at the end of the line. Like all the women here on this cold night, I had come to try out for the Lingerie Football League (LFL). Though my motives were a little different. I wanted to see how we would be treated, what would be required of us, and to test the notion that this was real sport.
I was handed an application form, talent release and ‘Waiver of Compensation’ form. The last informed us that the League would not be liable if we were injured. Was that even legal? I saw one of the American players on crutches and wondered how she was paying for her treatment.
We each had a number written on our arms that would become “Your Name” on field – failure to respond to this number meant running a lap of the field, and a repeat of this offense would see us cut from the group, with no chance of selection. A girl ahead of me received number ‘69’, an honour which saw the US LFL team members cheering and joking that this girl had just received a free ticket through to the final selection. Every time number 69 was up, any athleticism or skill she displayed was overlooked in favour of continuing the joke that a numerical reference to oral sex was all the proof she needed of her potential.
about 80 (of us) milled around waiting. Amongst this group were a handful of obviously serious athletes. I later discovered that one LFL hopeful was already a part of a semi-professional women’s football league, and another had represented Australia in baseball.
We commenced three hours of drills as Mortaza patrolled with a clipboard, looking us up and down, watching our moves. A cameramen appeared, lying on the ground taking upward angle shots of us running past. I was very thankful to be wearing long tights. I felt less exposed than some of the other women. I wondered how the photos would be used and where.
It wasn’t long before the music pumped up and the LFL players surrounded us, firing us up, urging us to be aggressive to each other. They then went on to insult us, screaming “You’re a p****!” (derogatory for female private area) followed by a hand gesture in the shape of a vagina. As well as acting as an insult, the vagina hand shape was also later held above the heads of the top 20 as a victory sign.
We were shown the drill once and then expected to be able to mimic it. If we failed to do so we were screamed at, called a p– and then Mortaza would yell “Stop wasting my f’ng time, if you are here to f’ng sight see, get the f- out!” The way he spoke to us, made us feel like what we had to offer was never good enough. Along with being ruthless he also showed a lack of knowledge of the sport. Mortaza made a fool of himself as he attempted to demonstrate a simple drill.
One drill was girl against girl. If we didn’t fight with all we had, we would be pushed to the ground, but that wasn’t good enough for Mortaza. He didn’t just want us to wrestle the girl he wanted us to “pancake the shit out of her”. The girl that ended up getting smashed to the ground was laughed at and along with the hand gesture, was called a p– by all the LFL players.
We were expected to physically hurt our opponent. I think this is what disturbed me most. It wasn’t about playing football, it was about how aggressively we could act towards the other girls, how much pain we could inflict, all to entertain the crowd.
For most of the girls this was the first time they had encountered American-style football, playing a sport that isn’t actually Australian. Yet we received incredibly harsh criticism when we failed to match the skills shown by the LFL players who were professional players.
One of the girls I became friends with was behind me and I expressed my concern at the uniform we would be required to wear if we were chosen. She seemed oblivious as to as why this would be a concern. The tall blonde went on to be selected for the top 20, despite lacking the skill, speed and strength of other hopefuls.
LFL All Star Liz Gorman joked about it being the “fat story” as she had to lose weight when she was picked for the team. (I had already read that players who gained weight were humiliated). ”It is it about image,” she said. She also made a comment about the uniform,“The uniform it is was it is.” We were also warned about the amount of criticism we would receive from being a LFL player and that people would be harsh about our appearance so we had to look after our bodies.
Mortaza then read out the numbers of the girls who were chosen for the final round. Despite my ability to perform the drills, it was clear Mortaza wanted a certain ‘look’. So I was not particularly surprised that a number of us who had displayed greater football skills remained on the sidelines.
While a couple of the girls who made the cut were obviously talented athletes, in the end it was clear to everyone that our ability to play gridiron was a far lower priority than how our body would fill out the uniform.
The night ended with a pep talk about how to look sexy on Saturday night when those selected for a Sydney team to play competitively in December 2013 would be presented during half time at tonight’s LFL game in Sydney. They had to make sure hair and make-up was done and they were showing themselves as sexy, hot girls who had had a lot to offer – on or off the field.
A number of us worked hard and I’m still recovering. We faced constant belittlement and abuse. But our form wasn’t important if we weren’t stereotypically hot.
I’d love to be able to play gridiron someday. I love to test my body and mind to the limits of endurance. But I want to play a game where we are respected and valued for our abilities on the field. I want to know that our clubs would take care of us in terms of salary and insurance. I don’t want to play some pseudo sport where we are expected to wear sexy underwear and engage in girl-on-girl violence, and be called p*****s, because that’s what we have been reduced to in a strip show style spectacle for the gratification of men, under the guise of sport.
And what else of LFL founder Mortaza’s presence at the try-outs…
He strutted around like a pimp, barked orders and was so aggressive.
All this from an athletes point of view as well as a young girl who could of been really excited to try out for this new rising sport to then be told “I’m wasting their f’ng time,” and then being put down and been called a p– over and over again.
Tal Stone is a 23 year-old Sydney university student and athlete.
For the full article go to: http://melindatankardreist.com/2012/06/abused-yelled-out-called-pussy-and-told-to-pancake-the-shit-out-of-her-my-experience-of-lingerie-football-league-try-outs-in-sydney-last-week/
‘Meet lingerie author’, Kerri Sackville
For those of you who didn’t get an insiders look at the LFL Promo match at Sydney last night, you missed the cause of equality for female athletes being set back, here are the updates…
Grey team player loses her pants, the mostly male crowd goes wild, they replay it ‘close up’ on the big screen and the crowd cheers. Pink team makes a touchdown, player celebrates by slapping her thighs and making hand gesture of a vagina. An athlete in the crowd says “I’m a sports person and I find this so offensive.” LFL players dance for the men, the men go wild, not unlike a strip club (sounds like strip club sport, looks like strip club sport, equals strip club sport). Three male spectators are invited on the field to chase and tackle one of the LFL players (Melinda Tankard Reist – “in no other sport would crowd be invited onto the field and tackle [grope] a player.”
Collective shout tweet – “sexual harassment of players is accepted and even encouraged at the LFL, how many men’s sports would condone the same?” and asks “is there any protection from sexual harassment in their contratcts?” As Nora Dett tweeted, “Three men tackling one women to the ground is entertaining? Outside the LFL setting that would be a very different story.” One spectator was overheard saying, “nobody goes to this for sport. It’s like saying they go to a strip club to see a good dancer.”
Women in lingerie handing out merchandise to the men in the crowd, the men go crazy. A trialthlete says, “can’t take anymore, leaving” and even free tickets can’t keep some disgusted audience members from leaving. Older female host asks men in crowd so stop stacking their beer cups up, they throw beer on her. Caitlin roper tweets “they claim LFL is about sport, it’s really for men who like seeing women get hurt.” (While having their pants ripped off).
A lot of men getting drunk and becoming more aggresive, yelling at LFL players, this is not promoting women’s equality in sport. LFL player on her way to the VIP lounge nearly grabbed by a pack of men, security has to step in. Blow up doll passed around the crowd, one man simulating oral sex, men boo at attendent who takes it away, remember the whole family was invited. afeministmother tweets “to see the exploitation and abuse of women yet again ‘regulated’ and packaged for the main stream is depressing.”
Melinda Tankard Reist tweets, “wonder what Cory Bernadi thinks of pants down close up replay, 3 men on 1 woman tackle and blow up doll? The LFL still sport Senator?”
During time-outs the LFL tune camera’s onto two women in audience kissing, men go mental. Some men at LFL have paid extra for the party zone, they can ‘stay back, take pics and whatever you want.’ Lap dance anyone?
Remember the LFL contracts prohibit the players from wearing underwear beneath their lingerie uniforms (close up replay of player losing her pants) and the LFL offered special prices for juniors aged 2-12 years.
Sign the petition now to stop the LFL from forming their franchise in Australia next year. The goverment won’t step in, this is up to the Australain people! http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-lingerie-football-league-in-australia
To see these tweets and more first hand go to Collective Shout (@CollectiveShout) on Twitter
The wonderful Dr Michael Flood from the Australian ‘men against sexism’ website http://www.xyonline.net/ has published an article on the Lingerie Football League coming to Australia – ‘LFL, what is it really about and do we want it in Australia”
xyonline is a fantastic website for men who desire a just society for both men and women, please check them out on the above link and view the article at http://www.xyonline.net/content/lingerie-football-league-what-it-really-about-and-do-we-want-it-australia
And thank you so much good men of Australia for supporting our campaign to stop the LFL from coming to Australia xx
As Minister for Sport, I can’t abide a spectacle that degrades women and threatens to undermine the progress of women in sport in Australia.
Austalian Minister for Sport, Kate Lundy, has published an article on www.mamamia.com.au saying among many things, that:
It offends me that the promoters are hiding behind the guise of LFL being a ‘sport’. Lingerie Football objectifies and exploits women by trading on their sexuality to make money pure and simple. The LFL perverts the concept of ‘sport’ to make a profit and in doing so the promoters abandon the concept that sport should be a celebration of great athletic talent to inspire the next generation of kids to give it a go.
Thank you Kate Lundy for finally speaking up about this sexually gratuitous spectacle under the guise of empowering women in sport.
However the Lingerie Football League Founder Mitch Mortaza is not impressed, tweeting earlier on his discovery of the Sports Ministers thoughts on the LFL, that;
My office issuing a statement shortly to respectfully address PM of Sport Kate Lundy’s irresponsible and insulting comments.
Many Australians support what our Sports Minister has said, we do not want the sexploitation of the LFL in Australia. It’s time to think of our children, teenagers and the rest of the women in our society outside of the LFL, as Kate Lundy says:
“We can do so much better than LFL. And most importantly, our daughters deserve more.”
To read more of Kate Lundy’s article go to http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/why-cant-they-do-this-with-their-clothes-on/
And if you haven’t already, sign the petition, let your voice be heard Stop the Lingerie Football League in Australia
For more info go to www.collectiveshout.org
So what are we to do?
The Australian Sports Association (ASC), in response to concerns for the Lingerie Football League in Australia, stated that their work includes
“promoting the Essence of Australian Sport initiative which defines the core principles of sport in Australia – Fairness, Respect, Responsibility and Safety. Your concerns of Lingerie Football being detrimental to the image of female elite athletes, community and amateur athletes are appreciated. The Commission does not recognise Lingerie Football and therefore does not provide any support to this organisation or the sport.”
And directed my concerns to the Australian government.
Today I recieved my first and only response from a member of Australian Parliament, the Honourable Campbell Newman, thank you Mr Newman for responding, however, when I contacted you I expressed that “whilst the ASC may not consider LFL a ‘sport’, the government should still hold the same responsibilities to its people as set out by the ASC on there government website on sexploitation. And Mr. Newman’s Response was:
Please be assured that the Queensland Government does not recognise lingerie football as a sport, and does not provide any support to the LFL. You may voice your concerns on this issue directly to the event promoter www.lflus.com/contact
This seems to be what’s called ‘passing the buck’ to me. And I really can’t see the LFL in America listening to li’l ole me in Australia when they don’t even pay wages, medical bills or provide proper protective clothing for what is a full contact sport to the women they ’employ’.
What is clear out of both the ASC and Premier Newmans responses is that this is up to us, the Australian people.
If you do not want Lingerie Football League in Australia, the only way to stop it is to petition all corporate hosts, sponsors and promoters to withdraw all support for the LFL so that it does not go ahead in Australia. Stop the Lingerie Football League in Australia
Today’s Herald Sun featured an article by Australian women’s activist and www.collectiveshout.org co-founder Melinda Tankard Reist, reiterating all the reasons we should not let Lingerie Football League (LFL) come to Australia.
WHEN a man plays gridiron – or American football – he is dressed for maximum protection to ensure safety in a game known for its raw physicality. His body is covered, with little exposed flesh, to minimise injury.
It’s not the kind of game a man would consider playing in his underwear. That would just be dumb, right? But it seems rules are different if you are a woman playing for the Lingerie Football League (LFL). The less clothing the better. In fact, it’s a requirement of the game.
LFL is blatant sexualisation and sexism, while promoting violence towards near naked, physically unprotected women, with outrageous clauses for maximum boob and bum exposure with little or no pay and the whole family is invited!
Brisbane Entertainment Centre and Allphones Arena Sydney are offering family tickets for two adults and two juniors aged two to 12 years. Never too early to teach children what women are good for.
Yet fan’s of the sport must think it’s credible right, that they are watching real female athletes?
One male sports blogger says LFL is “the closest we will get to live stadium porno” and admitted: “I just would never go to a game to watch their athletic talent.”
Melinda goes on to rightly assert:
This exploitation of women’s bodies for profit undermines real sportswomen. Mainstreaming stripper-style representations of women – including in sport – sets back the cause of equality and fair treatment.
CONTINUING to depict women in sexualised roles – including on the sports field – dashes our hopes of growing a generation of empowered young women. It reinforces the notion that if a young woman wants to play sport she has to bare her flesh and be publicly sexual. Already many girls avoid playing sport because of body-image concerns.
Fortunately, the Australian Sports Commission does not recognise lingerie football. It says the LFL does not adhere to the “core principles of sport in Australia – fairness, respect, responsibility and safety”.
However, it can’t do anything to stop it. That’s why we have to.
www.collectiveshout.org are calling for all corporate sponsors including the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Allphones Stadium Sydney, Telecafe, Seven Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and Triple M to withdraw all support for these events so they do not go ahead.
Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy is also being lobbied to intervene. Tell these companies that trading in the bodies of underpaid semi-naked women who risk injury for male entertainment does not constitute sport.
Sign the petition and stop Lingerie Football League from coming to Australia.
It’s been 3 days since the LFL petition went up and already more than 600 signatures, 1 promoter has pulled out and today the Herald Sun | Latest Melbourne & Victoria News | HeraldSun ran an article on the petition called ‘Outcry over Lingerie Football League’s planned Australian visit’ More at com.au
And last look, just as many men are signing as women, thank you good men for speaking up also. Let’s keep the momentum going. Australia does not need another organisation that sexualises and exploits women, as Dr Eileen Zurbriggen member of the American Psychological Association Task Force reminds us, “As a society, we need to replace all these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings. The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescent boys and girls that lead to healthy sexual development”.
America has Gridiron, we have Rugby league, and we are a large female footy playing nation already, with teams vying for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup | Facebook (ok, so not me, more of the creative type who tends to have butter fingers around balls, but). Let’s give these female athletes of Australian football some focus instead, they warrant the air time far more than the latest sexploitation-money-machine out of America. Australian Womens Rugby League – SportingPulse http://www.ourfootyteam.com/women-in-league.php
If you haven’t signed already, do so now and tell people you know. It only takes 1 minute for your voice to be heard. Stop the Lingerie Football League in Australia For more information go to: www.collectiveshout.org