Say NO to porn in Sport! Stop the Lingerie Football League in Australia. by guest author Lily Munroe of “Freedom from Porn Culture”

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A young supporter, but does he know what he is supporting?

SIGN THE PETITION HERE:

What began as a form of half time entertainment during Gridiron matches at the super bowl in the US, has now evolved into the successful and controversial Lingerie Football League (LFL), ‘true fantasy football’ according to the website. Now Founder Mitch Mortaza is intent on bringing his franchise to Australia next year.

Yet our Australian Sports Commission (ASC) does not support the LFL nor does Sports Minister Kate Lundy who is strongly opposed, making a public statement that “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.” White Ribbon – Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women, fully support Kate Lundy’s position on the LFL, stating, “White Ribbon denounces initiatives that objectify or exploit women & supports @KateLundy ‘s comments.”

Mortaza, however, has proudly stated that the LFL is “brutality, sport and entertainment combined into one…it’s a real sport, one not played by models.” The league proudly brags about the “broken arms and noses” its players have suffered as “a sign of its toughness and competitiveness“.  Women in underwear with little protection involved in full contact brutality, sport and entertainment.’ We are talking Gridiron here, where the men wear full body protection. Now these women do play a modified version of gridiron, however, their uniforms are also modified to consist of, as Martin Winquist from The Sheaf (2012) writes: “modified football shoulder pads, optional elbow pads, knee pads and hockey helmets with half-visors,” to ensure enough flesh as possible is shown. But just read that top line again, ‘brutality’… in their underwear.

And, if the players are injured during play or training the LFL refuses to pay their medical bills as Lingerie League Gets Litigious | The Smoking Gun Reported “The Lingerie Football League…is threatening legal action against a group of former players who have complained that the league has reneged on promises to pay the medical bills for women injured during practices and games…According to several former players, league founder Mitchell Mortaza and his deputies have repeatedly threatened legal action when players have complained (or simply inquired) about health coverage and wages.”

And, if they do receive injuries on the field, they better turn up for their next training session or according to www.thesmokinggun.com (TSG) receive a $5000 fine.

The LFL is pure and simple sexism and exploitation of women, pornifying the players and promotions under the guise of sport, and is proud of the violence the women are subjected to while playing physically unprotected and, as such, goes against our Australian sports ethics.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman claimed the Qld government does not support the LFL, yet the Queensland Government Translink website directed you on how to buy tickets for the Brisbane LFL game, with links to Ticketek and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on their website.

Australian champion Netballer Liz Ellis, proof that Australian female athletes are finally being taking seriously, has spoken up publicly against the sexploitation and sexism of the LFL on channel Ten’s ‘The Circle’, And as the ASC state on their Government website, female athletes like the LFL women set back Australia’s female athletes plight to be taken seriously by 100 years.

And Daryl Adair, an associate professor of sport management at the University of Technology, said the sport partly showed how difficult it was for women to be regarded as serious athletes. ”The best opportunity for women to be taken seriously as athletes of calibre is not to sexualise their performance but to operate in tandem with, or as an auxiliary to, men’s programs,” he said.

And Aus Women’s Sport have publicly stated “we believe it is a blight on the map of women’s sport and women’s rights in general. It is simply a form of entertainment that just happens to involve physical activity, in the image of a legitimate game. As an organisation dedicated to a strong and healthy Australian culture through the active participation of women and girls in sport, physical activity and recreation, to stay silent about our position on this league would in fact silently endorse it…Can you imagine the uproar if the W-League decided next year that their female footballers would have to decrease their uniform coverage by about 95% and sign a contract consenting to the possibility of “accidental nudity” on the field? There would be outrage. By the players, by the spectators, and by the mothers and fathers of the girls playing U8 football on suburban fields on a Saturday morning.”

Kate Lundy went on to say ”The LFL is about giving viewers an opportunity to perve on women in gear that looks like it’s come from an adult shop. It’s called the Lingerie Football League because it’s almost exclusively about the underwear. In sexualising the game of gridiron, they’re undermining any future for broader inclusion in the sport, inevitably making it harder for women to receive equitable treatment.”

The Project’s Toby Halligan reported “The Leagues founder, Mitch Mortaza, insists it’s a serious sport and that it doesn’t exploit women. But can you name another sport where the athletes have to sign a contract that reportedly includes a provision acknowledging the risk of “accidental nudity”? Not to mention that the uniforms seem designed to suggest the possibility that a lap-dance could break out at any point. Lingerie Football seems to be doing for sport what Hooters did for restaurants. In the view of the LFL, the thing that’s been holding women’s sport back was pants, apparently.”

www.collectiveshout.org have been fundamental in enlightening the Australian people of the reality behind the LFL, breaking through the propaganda that founder Mitch Mortaza and his crew are espousing as truths about his league, as well as the LFL’s denials of the poor treatment and outrageous clauses the players have to adhere to. And rightly state “No Australian sportsman would ever accept these conditions. No Australian sportswoman should have to either.”

The contract
designed by the league shows female players have little choice other than to be objectified if they wish to play. These contracts include  lingerie uniform regulations with contractual clauses prohibiting players from wearing anything beneath their teams lingerie, known as the “additional garments” clause which would significantly increase chances of nudity, and according to an ex-player who told TSG that the League “did not want women wearing bras or underwear, since that would inhibit instances where players were exposed when uniforms were ripped off or pulled down during play.” In the contracts the players will be fined $500 if they do wear additional garments. This leads us to the “accidental nudity” clause which states “…Performances hereunder may involve accidental nudity. Player knowingly and voluntarily agrees to provide player’s services hereunder and has no objection to providing services involving player’s accidental nudity.”

In a SMH article prior to the first promotional game in Brisbane, Chloe Butler; who was introduced to the LFL during a playboy photo shoot stated, ”I lost my pants in a touchdown in my first game,” Remembering the ‘additional garment clause’ There would have been obvious nudity.

Australian women, children and female athletes deserve far better than this blatant sexploitation and this is the purpose of the petition that has been set up to ‘stop the Lingerie Football League from coming to Australia’. For us to be heard, that we won’t take these sexist American imports that are cashing in on exploiting women and downgrading us to sex objects for male titillation in order to be professional athletes.

As Jasmine Swilks writes “Apparently the fact that Beckham is paid millions of dollars for playing sport – and we might add, completely clothed—while these women are paid nothing for wearing lingerie, failed to register (with the LFL). While Beckham may be marketed sexually in his underwear advertisements, he is definitely not asked to sacrifice safety for ratings….By asking us to strip down to our underwear to play sport, we can only assume that the Leagues do not consider women talented enough to play a sport fully clothed, and are therefore spreading a hateful message that women need to accept that their bodies (or more importantly, men’s views of their bodies) are the only way of affirming their worth on a sports field”

In an article in the Herald Sun
Melinda tankard Reist
rightly asserted;

“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.”

This is about our right for choice as Australian citizens; men can choose to seek out this sort of adult entertainment if they choose, yet it is very hard for the rest of us to avoid it when are subjected to it in the mainstream public space and it is being sold to our children. Yes both the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and Sydney’s Allphones Arena are selling family tickets for two adults and two children aged 2-12 years of age, or one adult and three children aged 2 -12.

And as reporter Mike Goldman@mikeygold tweeted after attending the Brisbane promotional LFL game “Heaps of kids there. Great family entertainment” and posted a photo of a very young boy at the game. And later tweeted, “People wouldn’t go if it was just called women’s gridiron” which is the sentiment of the majority of the LFL’s fan base.

One commenter on the collective shout Facebook page said “Are there any state child services that might bring this under the microscope? Surely children should not be able to be admitted to an event including nudity, or “accidental” nudity…” As well as watching women play full contact sport, basically unprotected in lingerie while a mostly male crowd jeer and cheer.

Another commenter on collective shout said, “The fact that stuff like this becomes mainstream family entertainment is just so disappointing. We really need to stand up and say a very firm NO”

This kind of sexploitation is not acceptable, on or off the sporting field. The detrimental effects of such sexualisation on women and girls is well documented by experts in this field.

Melinda Liszewski from Collective Shout spoke with Scotty McDonald on 95.6 family fm to discuss the terrifying implications the league has on families, particularly the undeniable issues it feeds in teenage and potentially younger girls.

Australia according to the ASC “as is common with exploitation, it can have various negative effects, both on the individual athlete and the sport as a whole. It is therefore crucial that athletes and sports understand the possible ramifications of using sex to promote women’s sport. They need to ask the key questions, ‘what are we actually promoting and what are we really trying to achieve?” They go on to state “…It should also be noted that while sexploitation is most commonly associated with elite athletes, the matter cannot be completely divorced from community and amateur sport. There is undoubtedly a flow-on effect…”

Australia and our western world are already in the midst of a cultural crisis concerning women from living in a pornified society. The facts are in and they are clear, women and girls are suffering emotionally and physically from a wide range of disorders as a result including anorexia, self harm and depression. This and more can be founded in the American Psychological Association report on the sexualisation of girls where Dr Eileen Zurbriggen member of the APA 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.”

On Saturday before the Brisbane game the LFL girls paraded the streets of Brisbane in their lingerie uniforms, and as Melinda Liszewski co-founder of collective shout said on their facebook page “I made a complaint to Brisbane Marketing about the Queen Street Mall promotion shown in the photo attached to this article. Apparently, if I was to walk down the street wearing the same thing “it would be a police issue.”

Yet Mortaza claims ”You may come to the door lured by the sex appeal, but you’ll leave blown away by the competition.” However, male fans of the LFL disagree; 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.”

Others have commented;

“I feel bad for the girls playing this taking it seriously. No one but the players are even the slightest bit interested in athletic ability…”

“Nude football would be better- make it happen bastards,”

Is this the kind of society we want to endorse? We need to ask ourselves here what is more important, the mental health of Australian women and children, the plight of our female athletes to be taken seriously and encouraging girls to play sport, or the right for men to continue to bring pornography into the main stream and make it the norm so that the rest of us cannot avoid it, in and out of our homes?

In short, the 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, including not receiving payment for their medical bills when injured during games and practice, and the whole family is invited!

If we don’t take a stand on these pornified and sexualised images of women becoming the norm and a large part of our main stream culture, who will?

Although we are unable to stop the two promotional matches, the ‘LFL Australia is set to premiere in its inaugural season with franchise teams in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in 2013.’ So what can we do?  Sign the petition to ‘stop the Lingerie Football league from coming to Australia next year. We can speak loudly to the hosts, the sponsors and the promoters that the Australian people do not want this franchise here and that we will keep speaking up and boycotting them until they withdraw their support.

There are plenty of opportunities for female athletes to play Rugby league and Gridiron in Australia and America with their clothes on and proper protective wear, so there is no excuse or reasoning for the LFL, other than the near naked women tackling each other with a good chance of accidental nudity.

No one is denying the women of the LFL are talented athletes, yet as Kate Lundy states “Why can’t they so it with their clothes on? We can do so much better than LFL. And most importantly, our daughters deserve more.”

Don’t let your silence on this matter = acceptance

Use your voice and sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-lingerie-football-league-in-australia

For more information go to www.collectiveshout.org

About the author; Lily Munroe of Freedom from Porn Culture

Lily, in her own words is a writer, artist, mother, lover, friend and feminist. She is based in southeast Queensland, Australia and is an activist against the pornifacation of women and girls. In her words,

    “I started this blog as the beginning of a union to support, protect and empower women to feel good within our own skin, within our own sexuality and sensuality, and within our relationships.

    ‘Freedom from porn culture’ is a platform for our voice to be heard and to know we are not alone in our desire for a world and relationships free from ‘porn culture’ and sexism.

  This is a positive mission for healthier self image and relationships, and healthier public images of women. Here we will be heard and valued. Here we can uplift and guide each other. Here we have a voice.

Feminists of the world unite and save real women’s sexuality from extinction.”

SOURCES

http://translink.com.au/travel-information/network-information/event-transport/details/667

http://theprojecttv.com.au/end-of-feminism-arrives-lingerie-football-league.htm

http://www.smh.com.au/national/lingerie-football-league-saunters-into-town-to-jeers-and-cheers-20120601-1zmyy.html

Lingerie League Gets Litigious | The Smoking Gun

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/this-is-about-as-sexist-as-it-gets/story-fn6bfkm6-1226361051544

http://www.96five.com/shows/scotty/dangers-for-the-family-from-the-lingerie-football-league

http://sportbizinsider.com.au/opinion/lingerie-league-pr-battle-aus-womensport-on-why-they-came-out-swinging/

http://www.smh.com.au/national/lingerie-football-league-saunters-into-town-to-jeers-and-cheers-20120601-1zmyy.html#ixzz1wj1vuCs7

http://www.smh.com.au/national/lingerie-football-league-saunters-into-town-to-jeers-and-cheers-20120601-1zmyy.html#ixzz1wj1vuCs7

http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/why-cant-they-do-this-with-their-clothes-on/

Watch – Ex Lingerie Football League Players speak out 

Outcry over Lingerie Football League’s planned Australian Visit

LINGERIE FOOTBALL LEAGUE – Let’s not pretend it’s sport! | thoughtsfromjas

RELATED ARTICLES

http://www.xyonline.net/content/lingerie-football-league-what-it-really-about-and-do-we-want-it-australia

http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/women/resources/issues/sexploitation

Australian Psychological Society : Sexualisation of girls

5 responses »

  1. I have been saying no to porn in sport for some time now. I completely refuse to watch female swimmers unless they wear a birka. Modern swimming attire is often smaller than lingerie, tighter than lingerie and when wet leave little to the imagination. It’s a national day of shame seeing Australian women at swimming championships, who are solely there to show off the power of their bodies rather than being judged on their mental capacity or their efforts for charity. Just thinking about the Olympics coming up makes me sick.

    At least the women in the LFL require a broad set of skills, including running, throwing and catching a ball as well as tackling, rather than just slowly moving through the water for male satisfaction looking at those tightly wrapped, wet bodies.

    Even many track and field athletes are wearing attire that is much more revealing that the LFL ladies. Maybe we should just ban female sports for a decade or 2 until we can sort all this porn out.

    • Excellent points Jorg! There is some added attraction with it bring underwear I guess, but you are right. Female sports wear in general is ridiculous and clearly meant to show off the body and get sponsorship. We really do need to take issue with this, in my view the attire that the female beach volleyball players wear is both ridiculous and irresponsible. It is particularly irresponsible in Australia to be playing a ‘professional’ sport wearing a bikini when our incidence of sun cancer is the highest in the world! They need more clothes on not less and when we teach our children the ‘slip, slop, slap’ mantra to avoid sun damage it is ridiculous that we can have sports people sending the wrong message all in the name of having some skin on display.

      I have often wondered why young female gymnasts have to wear those leotards that leave little to the imagination when the men have more material covering them. Enough is enough! Lets all start writing to the sports associations and get this redressed! Have you noticed the female basket ballers and net ballers are also wearing less and less? It gets the sponsorship.

    • No worries, thanks and you are right by using the power of the Changing Women we can move mountains. Next to stop fighting amongst ourselves, but that is for another post!

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