The fine folks at Golf Digest magazine have lovingly placed themselves on my list of fucktards who are out to destroy the world. It was a move so galactically shitty that I really had to pause and ask myself if it was actually an April Fool’s Day prank, or even better, a satirical attempt to make a stand for the way female professional athletes are treated by both society and the world of sports.
No, it was just a magazine cover with a topless female golfer, Lexi Thompson.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall when a world-class athlete showed up for her photo shoot, hopefully with at least her agent in tow, and about halfway through the shoot some CEO’s nephew said, “You know what would be great? Let’s get that shirt off of her and show her boobs!”
I would also love to think that an argument ensued, one in which Lexi took out a golf club and began lopping heads off, only to have her agent say, “Wow, Lexi, I really dropped the ball on this one. Taking your shirt off is actually in the fine print I forgot to read, and if you don’t do it we’re going to have to pay them serious money for breach of contract. But it’s gonna be fine, because right here after the shoot I’m going to commit hari kari for being a dumbass and letting you down.”
Or, even better: “Hey Lexi, we’re gonna take your shirt away from you because the article is really about how child slaves in third world countries work for 50 cents a day to make Nike apparel, but you’re not having any of it! Now take off your shirt!”
Or, possibly this scenario: “Did you know that your earnings for one LPGA win would cover the cost of 6,000 mammograms for women who work but don’t earn enough to cover even the most basic healthcare? This cover shoot is going to address that fact inside the special issue on the War on Women. Now shows us your tits!”
Or even this one: “Hey Lexi! This article is going to focus on the really twisted way that women in sports are still called ‘ladies’ or ‘girls’ and they still don’t earn as much as men even though some top-notch female athletes are shattering men’s records. We’re going to trick people into reading that really important article by making them think it’s about sex! Now strip like there’s a twenty in it for you!”
No. That didn’t happen. None of it.
Here’s what did happen: a magazine with a cover article about top female golfers (with cover copy that said “women who outdrive you”) featured a pro athlete without her shirt on, with only the two thin sleeves of a white golf jacket to keep her nipples from flopping in front of the censors. It showed up at my house unannounced, the house where my I live with my two teenage daughters.
And Golf Digest didn’t have the decency to respond to any of the F-bombs I tweeted at them.
Here’s the thing, before you think I’m just a fat, ugly feminist who can’t tolerate a photo of a beautiful, powerful woman existing in my mailbox. I have a really fun app on my iPad, made by the folks at Bass Pro Shop. It’s an app where I get to poke the screen and kill wild animals in probably much the same way that anti-hunting advocates think hunting actually works. The animals dart out and you “shoot” them willy-nilly without any care for what species they are. If the run, hop, or fly, you get to shoot them.
I never said it was a good game, I said it was fun.
But at the end of your round, a guy with a really redneck voice announces your score and then makes some little jabbing commentary on how bad a shot you are. It’s funny. But the first time he said, “Now son, you gotta do better’n that,” I was taken aback for a split second. Why the assumption that someone who would want to slaughter innocent woodland creatures is automatically a man? Oh yeah, because men are dumb (said the fat, ugly feminist).
Then I got over it. Nobody was hurt by the word “son.” It was also a free game that didn’t show up on my iPad unannounced. I put it there, AFTER trying it out. I can also just hold my finger on it for a split second longer and delete it if I’m so offended. No nasty letters got written to the folks at Bass Pro over the word “son.”
But the magazine? I pay for that. A lot of money. Advertisers pay for it, too, and by the laws of math I pay for that as well, since the products I buy cost as much as they do in part to cover advertising costs. My name was on the address label, meaning the subscription was in my name. Why? BECAUSE I GOLF! And I’m BETTER AT IT THAN MY HUSBAND. Meaning I “outdrive” him. So is the appropriate response that I shouldn’t be allowed to have a shirt while I play? Should I have to remember that I’m a nobody if I beat him at this, a nobody who should have to show her tits to the world for daring to enjoy a sport enough to become good at it?
The really sad thing is I’m not good at golf. I just like it. It’s fun, it’s peaceful, and every once in a while something crazy happens, like the time my husband teed off and hit me in the ass with the golf ball, even though I was standing behind him. But Golf Digest single-handedly ruined the game for me by letting me know exactly where women stand…it’s topless, in case you were still wondering.