Now that the kind and understanding Mullahs of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei have consented to allow their nation’s second-class citizens to participate, the 2012 Olympic Games are the first ever in which every country’s team includes women.
It’s about time. Some of us have a weird thing for chicks in chadors, especially when they’re shooting air rifles.
The Middle Easterners coming late to the international party have some legitimate concerns. Like marriage, another helpless victim under constant attack from destructive homosexuals, certain helpless institutions must be defended by various legislative Acts. Or athletic bans. Female modesty can’t be adequately protected by swimming suits, leotards, or form-fitting short-shorts.
Seriously. They can’t.
And they shouldn’t be. One of the compelling reasons to watch the Olympics is that most of the athletes, male and female, are beautiful. Their bodies, especially those that have been trained for endurance and power, are close to the museum-quality ideal we see in Greek statuary and Men’s Health cover models. Leonardo couldn’t sketch more perfectly proportioned human anatomy. Just as we admire the musculature of a galloping horse or leaping lioness, the rippling sinews of a finely developed athlete satisfy our constant ocular scan for good-looking images that feed our appetite for symmetry.
Unlike the purely aesthetic pleasure of looking at art or sculpture, watching beautiful athletes in motion adds the additional thrill of real live gorgeous bodies being arranged in all sorts of delightful poses. In almost every athletic contest, including sports that aren’t on the Olympics menu, like football and baseball, there’s an undercurrent of sexual energy, a throb of sublimated homo-eroticism and lust that runs beneath the sports narrative. We just don’t talk about it. We watch to see who wins, and how, and maybe we notice how tight the running back’s stretchy pants are or what color panties Serena’s wearing. We’re altogether quite comfortable witnessing issues of dominance and submission getting worked out with a ball or a stick. At the Olympics the omnipresent sports-are-sexy factor is exaggerated by the amount of (preposterously well-toned) skin on display.
Televised athletics usually celebrate the achievements and feats of men. For the duration of the London Games, women wearing very little and looking very good will capture the attention of sports voyeurs around the planet. No one will dare mention that the little girls on the balance beam and uneven parallel bars are the stuff of pedophiliac fantasies. Or that the beach volleyball competitors wear only slightly more spandex than Victoria’s Secret models wear lingerie. Or that the entire U.S. 4 X 100 meter relay team could easily peel the lycra out of their crack and slip into a mini-dress for the next Kanye West video.
None of this Body Beautiful stuff is bad or outrageous or harmful to the youth of America, who might be better off ogling perfectly formed asses than movies and video games depicting gun violence. It’s great to be reminded that healthy and fit is the real sexy. We just worry, though, about so many dedicated and pure-hearted Olympic athletes being commoditized as just more fresh meat to be consumed by a viewing audience with an insatiable appetite for fresh meat.
Or maybe that’s the whole idea.