If you’ve been watching the Olympics this month, like me, you’ve probably become concerned about all the media attention that has been devoted to women competing in manly activities and displaying unfeminine personality traits such as ambition, competitiveness and strength. Not only are we seeing more women competing in sport on our television sets (quite rightly, we generally keep women competing in non-feminine sports off our screens) than ever before but also large swathes of society seem to be tuning in and even celebrating women’s sporting achievements. By day three of the Olympics, I was beginning to panic about this. How could so much female success been possible, when only 0.5% of UK investment in elite athletes is devoted to women (http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/nov/05/women-sport-point-five-sponsorship)? What sort of examples would we be setting for our daughters in terms of femininity? Where was the much-deserved recognition for the bodies and beauty of our more attractive female athletes?
Just as I was beginning to despair, Boris Johnson, the cherished ruler of our capital city, saved the day with a classic quote in his Telegraph column that put Olympic women back in their place and highlighted that their jobs as elite athletes are acceptable only as long as they maintain their more important roles as decorative eye candy for our male spectators. Boris, perhaps the best politician ever to grace our Earth (apart from, arguably, Silvio Berlusconi), helpfully pointed out that the “semi-naked women” competing in the beach volleyball competition were “glistening like wet otters.” Phew. Bojo has a lesson here for us all girls: if you must compete in sport, make sure you look sexy whilst doing so.