Not only are female skiers incredible athletes, they are also incredible athletes WHO WEAR MAKEUP. NBC skiing analyst Steve Porino was totally amazed by that fact during yesterday’s women’s downhill skiing competition during the Olympics in Sochi.
Washington Post blogger Erik Temple (and plenty of people on Twitter) were a little irked by Porino’s comments, which happened when he described the impressive feats involved in skiing the downhill course in Sochi, including a 70 percent grade which skiiers enter at a rate of 60 mph and descend in about nine seconds. He said:
“All of that while in a Lycra suit, maybe a little bit of makeup — now that is grace under pressure.”
Oh, ok. It’s super impressive that these trained athletes are competing at an international level but it’s the fact that they do it while wearing makeup that really makes it amazing, y’all. Damn. Not only is that disrespectful to the female skiers and how hard they’ve trained, it’s just such a sexist and throwback way of talking about women in general. I mean, I guess it was nice that Porino spent a lot of time describing how difficult the course is, but he totally undermined all his seemingly-genuine respect for the athletes with the makeup comment. And the grace under pressure thing, too, I’d argue. No one ever talks about male skiers and how graceful they are under the pressure of competition.
As many problems as I had with Caitlin Moran‘s book How To Be A Woman, I often think of one question she asked in her book. It’s this one:
“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.”
In this case, are the men’s appearances being mentioned by commentators? Are the male skiers being lauded as having “grace under pressure?” I’d venture to say the answer is NOPE. And there you have it.
Interestingly, there was a tie for gold in this particular competition, because skiers Dominique Gisin of Switzerland and Tina Maze of Slovenia each completed their runs with a time of 1 minute and 41.57 seconds. That’s the first time this has ever happened in an Olympic alpine skiing event. Looks like the makeup that Gisin and Maze may or may not have been wearing may or may not have helped them make history!
Photo: Getty Images