They weren’t there to shoot them, Giuliani pointed out. Wie West was readying to putt.
“Now Michelle Wie is gorgeous,” Giuliani told Bannon. “She’s six feet. And she has a strange putting stance. She bends all the way over. And her panties show. And the press was going crazy.”
“Is that OK to tell that joke? I’m not sure,” he continued.
No, Rudy, it’s not okay, but it also isn’t all that different from what hordes of other simple-minded and retrograde men have said about female athletes like Wie West—who graduated from Stanford University, by the way.
Instead of focusing on what was under her skirt, she tweeted, Giuliani and his ilk should have “remembered that I shot 64 and beat every male golfer in the field leading our team to victory.”
“I shudder thinking that he was smiling to my face and complimenting me on my game while objectifying me and referencing ‘panties’ behind my back all day,” she continued. “What should be discussed is the elite skill level that women play at, not what we wear or look like.”
The fact is, women on the course or the pitch or the court face the same scrutiny, if not more, as women do just walking down the street — their appearance, indeed their sheer physical existence, serving as a site onto which socially entrenched ideas and beliefs about gender are mapped, reaffirmed and contested.
Women challenge dominant ideologies about gender with their very presence in sports, especially those who play in a realm that is always in conversation with the male version of the game: monikers such as the LPGA, the Women’s World Cup, the WNBA and the Lady Vols show just some of the qualifiers used to describe women’s teams, telegraphing that the men are playing the normative version of a sport– the standard “real” version.
At my high school, the boys’ teams were “the Braves.” The girls’ teams were the “Lady Braves.” What does that even mean? Where do we even begin?
This kind of gender marking contributes to the belief that women’s sports are literally substandard to men’s.
Ugly stories like this about women who play sports are part and parcel of the broader media representations of sport and athletes that contribute to harmful gender stereotypes, ones that ensure female athletes are presented as women first and athletes second and that largely focus on appearance, age and family life while their male counterparts enjoy depictions that emphasize power, domination and athletic worth.
Ogling women, athletes or otherwise, is age old, and Wie West now joins the ranks of women who have hit back and hit back hard.
Now, in Rudy, they have a new chief.