Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, the final installment of ESPN’s series “Nine for IX” airs. Branded focuses on the way women athletes are expected to be the best on the field and the sexiest off of it. Take a look at a clip.
I don’t know how much the documentary will deal with the issue of an athlete being lesbian or bisexual (or perceived as such) and the extent to which athletes feel the need to project not just sexiness, but heterosexuality to score endorsement deals. But the inclusion of Brittney Griner in several of the clips in this excerpt gives me hope that the film will address that issue if only to note that upon becoming the top choice in the WNBA draft Griner came out and seems, from the cheap seats, to have suffered no ill effects of coming out on her endorsements. It seems, from a distance, that some athletes are feeling less pressured to pretend to be straight, even if they haven’t made a declaration to the media about being gay or bisexual.
Finally, as a lady who loves to watch sports, and really loves to watch the women who play the sports, I think there is an interesting friction between wanting women to be judged by their playing ability and wanting, respectfully, to watch hot lady athletes. How do we reconcile not wanting to be objectified as women in general with our desire to, well, desire, female athletes?
Tune in or set your DVR to record ESPN, tonight at 8 p.m..