I’m a diehard hockey fan and will forever admire, respect and revere Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player ever to lace up a pair of skates. I’m also a golf nut and subscribe to Golf Digest, poring over every page of every issue hoping to improve my game.
The recent cover of Golf Digest magazine features a very sexualizing picture of The Great One’s daughter, Paulina, who is engaged to be married to one of the rising young stars on the PGA Tour, Dustin Johnson. Paulina Gretzky is a professional model and has not been shy in her career about engaging in very provocative photo spreads. So what’s the big dust-up?
According to an article on Yahoo, only 11 women have been featured on the cover of Golf Digest in the past 45 years. And apparently being a talented, world-class champion doesn’t qualify as adequate criteria like it does for the men.
The members of the LPGA Tour (the Ladies Professional Golfers Association, for those of you who don’t follow golf) are, very rightly, upset at the appearance of such a grotesque double-standard. The publishers of Golf Digest should be ashamed.
I’m not opposed to attractive people who make a living by modeling. I understand and respect that adult models can make a choice about how they, themselves, are to be portrayed publicly. But I earnestly hope the editors of Golf Digest rethink their decision and behave differently going forward.
I’m also going to make a point to watch this weekend’s television coverage of the LPGA Tour’s first “major” tournament of the year, the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship. I’ll be watching some of the most talented golfers in the world playing a game I love at a level that I can only dream of. And I will applaud the tournament’s champion not for her physical appearance, but rather for her determined efforts to execute her golf shots better than anyone else in the field of intense competition and over 72 pressure-filled holes.
A little over a year ago, the Parents Television Council launched a new initiative called 4 Every Girl (4EG). www.4everygirl.com The mission of 4EG is to combat the sexualization of girls by advocating for a media environment where young girls are honored, valued and represented by healthy, respectful images. The sexualization of young girls in the media has proven harmful effects. According to the American Psychological Association, the three most common mental health problems for girls – eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem – are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media.
Let’s hope that Golf Digest – and indeed the entire magazine industry and the entire entertainment media industry – can use this as a learning opportunity about sexualization and the harms that come from it.
Here is a link to that article on Yahoo Sports: