Danica Patrick: A Racy Kids’ Role Model to Champion?

danika-ap-photo.jpgFeb. 17, 2013 Update: Yes, she’s a great race car driver and she has “won the pole” topping her NASCAR career.

No, I’m NOT changing my opinion from this prior post 2008 (after the jump)…as frankly, when I first read the news headline, “won the pole” my visual snapshot went to ‘Go Daddy’ and pole dancing, largely due to her OWN self-objectification and massively public career supporting the sexist scenarios of mega-sponsor “Go Daddy.”

It drives me crazy…She could have used her racing prowess and “breakthrough barriers” persona to elevate the collective knowledge in marketing female athletes to show and tell that it is NOT about bods, it’s about capabilities, but alas…she has achieved the exact opposite in terms of the ‘first glance’ headline sports world.

Young girls are given the message that ’empowerment’ is selling off your body to the highest bidding sponsor with a wink and nod that she’s operating under her own free agency and therefore it’s all good, femme-forward fun. Bleh.

And if you don’t think little girls are watching, here’s today’s media snippet with race car driver Jeff Gordon’s 5-year old daughter asking for a photo op…because she ‘didn’t know girls could grow up to be race car drivers.’ (See comments after the jump, beyond the photos to the ‘jokes’ about performance enhancing drugs, not cool for school—own your C…(cred)

(For what it’s worth, same goes for Beyonce and the Superbowl lap dance spectacle, which sends the message “yes, I have mega talent and STILL need to strut my stuff without my pants on to reach buzzworthy popularity Richter scales of an audience en masse” …sigh.  Beyonce, you do NOT. Knock it off and raise the bar for girls’ media messages, own your influence! And ahem, that goes for your new Pepsi junk food deal while stumping for the Let’s Move government active kids/health nutrition components too—own it.) 

Danica Patrick could have been such a strong role model for ‘anything you can do I can do too’…Instead she hits the skids for me, fueling her own sexualization with perpetuation of the Go Daddy party line (even thanking them profusely in her press videos) —yes, she’s one of Forbes’ ‘highest paid female athletes’ but at what cost? It’s all just another sellout scenario to me. Or maybe we’re asking too much of public figures to understand their role through the lens of pop culture and societal celebrification?

Congratulations are in order for making history, but to me, it’s a ‘zero sum game’ when it comes to celebrating.

Here’s a more nuanced point/counter-point critical thinking view from the original post, written April 24, 2008  showing the mediated messages put forth on both sides… I’m thinking about interviewing our Shaping Youth sponsored ‘Project Raceway’ all-girl teens team from the ECO-marathon (racecar builders, called The Shop Girls) to get the YOUTH point of view…Your thoughts?

(April 24, 2008) From our Earth Day conversations, and in keeping with the green theme, this blog is like the “feed me” Venus Flytrap plant, in the Little Shop of Horrors, devouring fresh media and marketing to nourish itself, thriving on new conversations and growing from opinions of sharp people…Soooo….Please humor me with one more pit stop from our green scene (I won’t even address the eco-factor downshift to racecar driving and fuel-burning engine revs from tree planting) as this is a discussion that laps back to body image, sexualization, pop culture icons, girls role models and the victory of champion racecar driver Danica Patrick’s historic female first IndyCar win Sunday at the Indy Japan 300.

Danica Patrick has sparked a mini-debate among my own advisory board (particularly this exchange between Dr. Sharon Lamb and Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown of Packaging Girlhood and yours truly)…not for her hard-fought win of course, but for her mixed messages as a role model for girls which will no doubt accelerate even faster than a final flag lap in an Indy race.

Taking the lead of the Packaging Girlhood blog, I’d like to extend the sharing of these thoughts openly and add other voices into the mix on this important topic of celebrity icons, athletes, and ‘girl culture’ as it relates to the whole objectification conundrum. (yeah, my views appear to consistently attract controversy, what can I say? I try to look at all sides, so in fairness, that means ‘I’ll always annoy someone)

So here’s the deal…

indycarseriescolorjf7.gifNo question Danica Patrick’s racecar driving smacks of bold, gutsy, ‘believe in yourself’ confidence with style and substance of a ‘one girl revolution’ (that’s one of the more poignantly ironic music tracks on her website that caught my ear as a deeper subtext of her public persona) but overall, I personally feel the mixed messages of self-objectification and body hawking are enough to give many girls whiplash.

My own daughter’s comment on her photos (which pop up first in her Google name search) and her Go Daddy “beaver” ad called Exposure nixed from the Superbowl line-up as inappropriate was this retort, (unprompted, honest!)

“Why would she even DO that?”

I’d like to ask other female athletes, including our own teen team, and the pals at our sister site, Girls Are Champions.org, to add further richness and context to this question…

Specifically:

What ‘crosses the line’ between empowerment and ‘m-powerment,’ (media/marketing machinations) in women’s sports?

Where does professionalism shift to ‘pay per view’ in the patriarchial pornification of pop culture?

ESPN praised ‘she didn’t need victory to be a winner,’ and autoblog talked about the brilliance of the team’s fuel starvation strategy (ahem, let’s not forget Danica’s prowess to pull it off?) and ABC sports gives a glimpse of the intense pressure of proving herself in a male-dominated field, under scrutiny ranging from the IRL ‘light weight’ rulings to her racing (and racy) career as a media darling…all that’s a given.

I’m NOT debating her victory, historic win, or driving prowess…nor even her ‘laugh all the way to the bank’ third-wave femme fest, I’m specifically querying about the culpability factor of participants in the media circus, and the need to ‘flag’ for media analysis the personal accountability play at the utmost granular level.

danika-patrick2.jpgDanica’s ad choices are her own, most certainly, but her ‘role model’ caché will no doubt go ‘ka-ching’ and be even more visible to girls with this victory, and this concerns me.

If she keeps up the objectification cues in her new endorsement deals, I’m going to go really, really basic here…and ask at the very core:

How do young female athletes feel about this?

How can we suggest ‘media/marketing’ accountability without factoring in personal participant responsibility?

I do NOT want to overshadow her valid victory, by any means, but I DO want to open up a conversation about how role models ‘give and take away’ (sometimes concurrently!)

Please, let’s NOT devolve the dialogue into yet another ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ UGC blogosphere Target fiasco of the ‘sex sells’ syndrome, the question I’m putting on the table is an accountability one…

Here’s the original conversation that began on Packaging Girlhood where AP reporter Mike Harris is being called to task for his sexist verbiage implying Danica Patrick can now finally “avoid comparisons to Anna Kournikova, who built a reputation based on glamour but never won a title.”

danika_patrick_1.jpgI commented about Danica’s role in perpetuating this phenom, arguing she places barriers for women as much as she breaks them by normalizing objectification, and showed why the reporter didn’t pull a sexist comment out of nowhere.

As you can see in this second ‘spin around the track’ with Packaging Girlhood, our candid but civil sparring match escalated into what I now deem to be a useful media literacy exercise to post our full conversation verbatim for feedback from youth, adults, educators, researchers, and anyone else.

Here’s our play by play commentary…with one more added query:

dann4.jpgSince media’s tendency is to either herald or marginalize public figures without looking at the surround sound snapshot of the overall media and cultural landscape (not to mention how it’s all landing on kids) shouldn’t role models themselves be held accountable for their own actions too, rather than masked under the guise of media and marketing as the big bad wolf?

Sound off, weigh in, but fergawdsakes ditch the vitriol of ‘neo-puritan prude’ allegations and name-calling (or at least be original this round).

This is an important conversation for media, marketing and pop culture’s confusing messages being sent to youth.

Original post by Packaging Girlhood: Racing History Made

“So, race car driver Danika Patrick has made history. We’re celebrating with the first woman ever to win an IndyCar race, the Japan 300. Three years after finishing fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the race car driver can finally — what? Prove hard work pays off, regardless of gender? Prove that athletes are athletes? Prove she’s the best driver on the track?

No, AP writer Mike Harris writes, she can now finally “avoid comparisons to Anna Kournikova, who built a reputation based on glamour but never won a title.” Say what? This is what matters? Beating out the last sex symbol? What’s historical about that? Proving she’s more than just a Sports Illustrated swimsuit pin up? Will that go down in the books?

Of the win, Patrick says, “I’m definitely just part of a wave of women that are doing different things, great things, outside of the normal world. I think it’s showing we’re capable of anything.There’s so much gender crossover now than there ever has been. So I really just believe that I’m part of a really big picture.”

Oh, and she won by beating Helio Castroneves. Funny, no one reduced him to his sexy moves on Dancing With The Stars!”

Response by Shaping Youth (ok, just moi, I didn’t ask our board of directors!)

dann3.jpg

Heads up, folks: Danica is complicit in CREATING that desire to be perceived as a ‘sex symbol’…

If you’ve followed any of the backstory on her own marketing tactics, she stripped for GoDaddy as part of the ‘exposure’ Superbowl series of ads that got nixed by Fox and didn’t make it on the air (fueling her ‘hottie’ hijinks all the more)

She vamped for the camera, with a ‘beaver’ double entendre for a spot titled ‘exposure’ (see the clip yourself) It’s not as if the AP writer pulled that sexy bit out of nowhere, she’s ‘branded’ her bod that way from the get go.

Both Danica and Anna are playing both sides of the femme fence, marketing their ‘babeliciousness’ for profit and endorsement deals…

Even great films like “Playing Unfair” that look at the representation of female athletes don’t spend much time on the culpability of the women who CHOOSE to ‘hold the soccer balls in front of their chest to strike a pose’ etc.

dann2.jpg‘Just say no’ could apply here, for it trivializes the experiences of all women athletes when some choose to go the objectification route.

As (Playing Unfair) makes clear, “while men’s identities in sports are equated with deeply held values of courage, strength and endurance, the accomplishments of female athletes are framed very differently and in much more stereotypical ways.”

Yah. But the female athletes who are stepping right into that frame to go for the gold, quite literally, shouldn’t get a hallpass any more than the reporter in the story.

‘Third wave feminism’ bah. –AJ”

Packaging Girlhood’s Follow-Up Post, “Another Spin Around the Track…”

“Checking the comments we received below we thought we’d respond with a full-fledged blog entry. Amy’s comment, from Shaping Youth, is kind of like saying a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be harassed, isn’t it? Or that the A+ a high school girl pulled on her history exam is tainted or undeserved because her skirt is short. Of course we know that Patrick posed for men’s magazines and ads. It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate, that even though women are 40% of athletes in this country they get only 3-5% of coverage in sports media, and so young women athletes draw attention to their sport in the one way they can ensure attention. So it’s more than simplistic to put the blame squarely on Patrick’s shoulders for this scenario, or to say her choices make it okay to dismiss her achievements on the race track in sports column analyzing the race and her place in history for winning that race. In this crazy bi-polar world, we had the choice of standing with the sexists or with her on this and we chose to stand with her. Maybe sexualizing herself was a path for getting the funding to do the kinds of athletic things she wanted to do. So instead of shame and blame, let’s hail her victory, support her sport, value her athleticism, and sit back now and see if some of the self-sexualization can change now that she’s been honored as a winner! And if we can keep the marketers and media ready to re-sexualize her at bay, maybe the next Danika to come along will make a different set of choices.”

Shaping Youth’s Follow-Up Response

“No one is trying for shame and blame here…if that were the case, I wouldn’t have given Danica McKellar’s “Math Doesn’t Suck” book the first People Shaping Youth award, n’est ce pas? She marketed sexy too, albeit in a less crass manner (I’m referring to the ‘beaver’ ads)

My point is that full disclosure and transparency on the culpability factor is warranted if we’re going to be fair in media analysis. Anything short of that is one-sided grand-standing, not media literacy deconstruction. (nor scholarly analysis)

That’s what Shaping Youth has become known and respected for…revealing and unveiling ALL elements of the conversational back-story to make informed assessments.

As always, Shaping Youth is NOT about telling people what to think or who to judge, we’re about revealing the facts and letting you decide your own position.

For me, a race car driver hero for my daughter is mitigated by DP’s self-objectification as a sexed up brunt of a tasteless beaver joke, but hey, that’s just me.” –AJ

Packaging Girlhood’s Dr. Sharon Lamb Responds:

“I hope you know we admire Shaping Youth very much. I guess in the end we take a different approach (some times but not all that often), but one of the things we try to be consistent about is blaming the culture and not the girl (in this case, woman). And when something good happens, we try to highlight it and applaud the girl or woman, not matter the past mistakes. I think this is something I’ve learned a lot from Lyn over the years to temper my own very critical approach so that if you were to ask me, a couple of years ago, nothing EVER looked good enough to praise. But I’m now pretty sensitive to the ways many of us make compromises in this culture and use what sells and what persuades to get ahead. I can’t say I’ve never bought an overpriced anti-wrinkle cream, for example. What I want to keep doing is keeping the focus on the media and marketers and not the individuals, not Danika, nor Britney when she flashes her pantiless private parts, nor when the next tween idol sexes it up for GQ or Rolling Stone or, heavens, Tiger Beat (Does that still exist?). And while I like Danica McKellar’s math book I feel I really like MORE that she’s so good at math and still think it’s sad that, like Danika Patrick’s self-objectification, McKellar had to pink it up and put lipstick on to sell it. Alas…

But good to have these discussions out in the open… don’t you think? We all struggle with how to handle the omnipresence of these kinds of things.”


Shaping Youth Concludes/Concurs With:

“Agree that Danica’s math skills themselves give her book the sexy is smart marketing appeal, beyond ‘pink think; but as for the OTHER racecar Danika (is it with a ‘c or k?’) …you can probably ascertain I’m a stalwart existentialist; holding individuals responsible for their own actions and how they mesh into the bigger POV of humanity.

We ask it of parents (as role models) of politicians (as representatives) of corporations (as keepers of the purse strings) of media/marketing channels (which I CLEARLY have a problem with along some ethical lines) and most of all, we constantly ask this of the children themselves!

So it seems a bit hypocritical for us to then step aside and treat ‘the culture’ as some unattached amorphous blob…

Athletes, entertainers and pop icons we uphold are part and parcel of what’s being painted on the greater landscape of life…It’s all a bellwether of what our society values, and what it rewards.

Mind you, we don’t call it the entertainment “industry” for nothing. I totally ‘get’ the dollar driven impetus behind the endorsement deals (big time)…but I draw a very clear line in the sand in terms of how the damage is being done, where it initiates, why it’s perpetuated, and who should be accountable.

As you say, a ‘blame game’ doesn’t get us anywhere, but I believe personal accountability DOES. For everyone.

Just as we all need to be aware of how our own personal choices land on kids (walk the walk so to speak) public figures have an added layer…

They have the eyes of the world on them, (for better or for worse) whether on a pedestal or a pornified party-fest of ‘beaver’ innuendos like Danika’s ‘Exposure’ ad we’re discussing.

To me, it’s an inseparable proposition in terms of the impact of the media & marketing machine along with the choices being made by powerful individuals that flaunt, embrace, and/or profit from same.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel the choices themselves are personal ones, from ‘mommy makeovers and tummy tucks’ (like I wrote about here at Shaping Youth) to age cream and pole dancing classes…It’s not the ACT itself that should be ‘judged’ (that’s where personal agency comes in) it’s the handling of the messaging that merits attention (personal responsibility, framing, context, tactful vs. toxic)

We’re all ‘the culture’ and we’re all complicit in our various ways.

We can’t remove personal accountability (celebrity, or ‘civilian’) in this battle for kids’ hearts and minds while applauding the perpetrators of racy glop that fuels and drives the media/marketing machine. It’s as effective as one-handed applause…

In sum, I still say it’s GREAT she won the race, but there’s a slow-burn of accountability that could’ve used a MAJOR tune up in the pit.

p.s. As for open, civil debate, no worries there, as you imply, we can be on the same team and still go our separate ways on a regular basis; that’s what makes humans such a grand part of life’s race! Nice chattin’ w/ya! –AJ”

Now It’s YOUR Turn…

Are media producers, consumers, & participants (that’s about everyone on the planet in some form or fashion) accountable for their own role in perpetuating the pop culture zeitgeist, whether it’s by behavior, purchasing power, role modeling, or ‘buying into’ same?

How do youth (boys AND girls) react to Danica’s role model dichotomy? How are they being impacted? How has the conversation shifted? Should we ‘bury the bad’ and just uphold the ‘good’ in the hopes the momentum will shift on its own?

Since Shaping Youth is all about ‘using the power of media for positive change,’ we’d like to hear the fastest way YOU think we can create that change, short of vilifying individuals, as Packaging Girlhood rightfully warns…

Is it best to lead change by example? Use this for media literacy teaching moments?

Ignore the less than ideal cues, or as Dr. Sharon Lamb says, “when something good happens, we try to highlight it and applaud the girl or woman, no matter the past mistakes.”

What if young women don’t feel this objectification is a ‘mistake’ at all?

What about FUTURE actions and promos as Danica’s presence and role model moniker escalates in the media/marketing sphere?

How is this landing on YOUR daughter, Sharon? Ours are about the same age, what are her comments, I’m curious…

Moreover, let’s hear voices of ALL ages and genders out there…What do you have to say? Tweens? Teens? Guys? Gals? Parents?

And a personal invitation for our own Dr. Robyn Silverman at Kiss My Assets, (our newest body image expert) to share her input too (see her new body image data from this week’s stat round-up linked above and always in our sidebar)

Don’t be shy…or concerned you’ll offend me, even you board advisors, ok? As Sharon and I have already proved, we can ‘agree to disagree’ now and then and still raise vital awareness and uncork some doozies of a conversation…

So what d’ya say?

Visual Credit in order of appearance: Danica Patrick’s race win shot by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images, ‘sexy’ series photographed for FHM by George Shultz; 3/4 frame racewear head shot, Stan Honda, AFP/Getty Images

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Comments

  1. kennasmom says:

    I’m disappointed by Dr. Lamb’s response above (although I agree with her original blog post)

    There’s a big difference between a victim and the woman who makes a business decision for which she gets paid.

    Danica Patrick made a choice to buy into (and profit from) the media culture which objectifies and sexualizes women. I hold her accountable for that. At the same time, very little in life is black and white. I laud her racing achievements. Can she not be both hero and villain?

  2. All: This is Dr. Robyn’s fabulous response, which I’ve reposted here to embed/clean up the links, but you can also see it all at once in this link to her post on her own blog here:

    “You might think I would have an immediate and solid answer for this problem since I’m a body image expert. However, I’m also all about girls challenging stereotypes and ripping the doors and glass ceiling off of male-dominated activities.

    So, I don’t have only one feeling about this situation. I am torn like any woman would be who works for the protection and advancement of positive youth development. On the one hand, you have the sexualization of women so that the celebrity has more market appeal. Yes, yuck. As a body image specialist, I really hate to see it. It turns my stomach and gets me angry that this is the natural progression of things when it comes to great sports women in the media. On the other hand, you have the strength and power of an amazing triumphant woman highlighted and getting some great attention. As an advocate for girls, I love that part.

    In the martial arts world, Gina Carano is being treated in much the same way. On the one hand, her body has been “pinned up” and featured to bring market appeal to Mixed Martial Arts. She’s pictured like a ring girl instead of a fighter. On the other hand, her star power makes people take notice of her strength and power in a typically male-oriented world. It says to girls, “You can do anything–just as good, if not better, than the boys.” I pray that this is the overarching message that is sent out loud and clear. Yes, that part, I have to say, I like a whole lot.

    So what’s the deal? Do these women really need to get “sexed up” to draw appeal and attention? Oh boy. In today’s world, right now, we know the score. Advertisers don’t cover women in sports much as it is–and when they do, well, you can see how they slant things. It’s too bad, since study after study shows that girls in sports glean great benefits.

    I hate to say it, but sometimes we need to bring people through “their” door (i.e. “look at me, I’m hot”) to get them to go through “ours” (”look at me, I’m a strong, successful woman, and you can be too”).

    The message that says “girls can survive and thrive in a male-dominated field” is so important and our girls may not hear it if the star doesn’t get the “media makeover” that seems a requirement these days.

    I know–this is the problem at hand. Girls want so badly to associate with these beautiful stars and my hope is that while they may first be stunned by the beauty and star appeal, they may second, fall in love with the strength, courage, and power that it took to get to the top. In this case, when they think of these women, they exchange this sexualized look for this
    message of triumph, and this sexualized look for this message of perseverance.

    Given that the “hubba hubba” messages are not going to stop anytime soon–I’ll take the good stuff when I can get it…even if I wince a little (or maybe a lot) when greatness is served with a pink teddy bear wearing red lipstick, patent leather, and a way-too sassy attitude. My hope is that the girls peel away the fluff and get to the guts.

    And that’s my take on it.” —Dr. Robyn Silverman, Shaping Youth Body Image Correspondent

  3. More? Keep ’em coming…

    btw, Robyn, this phrase resonates with ‘counter-marketing tactics’ —“I hate to say it, but sometimes we need to bring people through “their” door (i.e. “look at me, I’m hot”) to get them to go through “ours” (”look at me, I’m a strong, successful woman, and you can be too”).” since we use some of those procedures with the segue from junk food to healthy fare for kids at Shaping Youth.

    And Kenna’s mom, I think you echo thoughts of many of the parents I’ve heard in my own casual conversation, who pretty much say BOTH monikers apply…

    Danica can ‘pull ahead in the final lap’ if she watches her FUTURE promo deals and Ps & Qs with a keen eye toward ‘girls are champions’ vs. eye-candy/prosti-tots…after all, it’s in her FINANCIAL best interest for mainstream marketing, n’est ce pas?

    Danica will no doubt be trotted out as a girls media ideal of individuality…and one can only hope she sees the power of her own media influence…Here comes the whirlwind!

    “Danica Patrick had yet to see her apartment and was dressing out of the same luggage she took to Japan last week. She’d already appeared on four national television shows, and Monday faced a bank of winking phone line jammed with print reporters.

    This is the expected frenzy, the publicity cyclone for the diminutive 26-year-old IndyCar driver. Her attitude, looks and marketability have always assured that. But when she became an IndyCar winner, the first woman to win a major open-wheel race on Sunday at Twin Ring Motegi, well, the wind started blowing a little harder.”

    Do us proud, Danica…and good luck! I sure wouldn’t want to be under her spotlight for the world…

  4. Hey Amy-

    Speaking of racy role models…

    http://drrobyn.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/miley-cyrus-role-model-ruined/

    Dr. Robyn

  5. Adealia Artist says:

    If you go on you tube and bring up all the Danica Patrick interviews you will see on strong and balanced human being. She is consistent over the years.

  6. yeah, like I said, not disputing that…I just think as a visual society kids take their cues very fast and it’s laser-seared in their brain as to what is ‘valued’ in a blink.

    Everyone has their idols, and for some kids, Beyonce will do it for ’em…I just feel strongly that we ‘reap what we sow’ and if girls are getting mixed messages constantly in terms of their value and worth, it erodes the holistic worldview adding that extra ‘must and should’ in there…

    In other words, it’s not enough to ‘be a hotshot race car driver’ —she also has to be ‘hot’…Squatting like a hood ornament and draping herself over engines is more about sexual empowerment as a boy toy than being driven to succeed on her own merits as a sports athlete persona…Even under the guise of third wave femme it’s not quite landing on kids that way…they only see that’s what they’re ‘supposed’ to aspire to…

    Half clad=whole person? I guess I’d like to see a role model that kids can identify with as having merit even with their clothes ON…haven’t seen much of that lately…it’s all about the bod and babeciliciousness…just look at who scores the endorsement deals.

  7. The link above (#11) notes Danica stepping in it yet again, this time on the ‘performance enhancing drug’ issue…’if you don’t get caught it’s not cheating, right?’ UGH! And they wonder why I don’t hold her up as a female athlete ‘role model’ Bleh.

    Danica has done plenty of damage to female athletes already with her bod and her mouth, now we’ve got her vapid values to influence girls?

    Oh, but wait, she said it was ‘just a joke’ that’s right ‘j/k’ kiddies. Her “humor” leaves a lot to be desired.

    She ‘flamed out’ on lap two for girls role models imho.

    *****************************************************

    Here are some out-takes from the link above: In a radio interview with Sports Illustrated columnist Dan Patrick, the following exchange took place:

    Dan: If you could take a performance-enhancing drug and not get caught, would you do it if it allowed you to win Indy?

    Danica: Well, then, it’s not cheating, is it? If nobody finds out?

    Dan: So you would do it?

    Danica: Yeah, it would be like finding a grey area. In motorsports we work in grey areas a lot. You’re trying to find where the holes are in the rule book.

    Danica apologized for her statement in an interview with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, stating:

    “The whole interview with Dan Patrick, and every other interview I’ve ever done with Dan, the questioning comes from left field. It was just a joke and I really apologize if it came across any other way…It was a bad joke. There is a lot of sensitivity in our culture about [performance-enhancing drugs]. With all the baseball stuff, I’ve followed it and this is a real problem. It’s a shame kids think they have to do this to get ahead. It’s very dangerous…It’s absolutely not what I’m about. I’ve learned my lesson on what I should be joking about.”

    The blogger then weighs both sides of the debate about Danica’s role model status and asks an important question, (which I’d love to answer myself, but unfortunately comments are ‘closed’, ahem!)

    “How is it best for female athletes to garner attention for themselves and their sports? How far is too far when the goal is to increase visibility of female athletes, whether they participate in traditionally male- or female- dominated sports? What types of behavior should be off-limits, and what is acceptable? And where should personal accountability enter the conversation?”

    Might want to open those comments up, or feel free to leave ’em here! 🙂

    Amy Jussel’s last blog post..Graduation: From What To What? Media Moments Of Expectation

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