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Gender Studied      January-February 2017

B.T.W.

 

Three Photo Ops from the 2016 Rio Olympics:

 

  • olympic-divers-copyThe first is from a New York Times piece titled, “Q: Why Do Gay Men Love the Olympics? A: Isn’t It Obvious?” And if it wasn’t obvious before, one needed only to look at the impressive spread of photos accompanying the piece, showing mostly male athletes in Speedos or performing gymnastics. The piece even got a little down and dirty, referring twice to the “shirtless and lubed flag-bearer from Tonga” who became a media sensation. But it wasn’t just an excuse for soft-core porn. The point was made that the gay demographic is a reliable booster to Olympics ratings, and also that there were 49 openly gay Olym-pians in Rio. And it cautioned against “stereotypes” that might lead one to assume that gay men were only watching for the half-nude hunks. Surely some were tuning in because they really like sports, right? Which, however, is far from the “obvious” answer to that opening “Q.”
  • The second photo shows two British divers, Jack Laugher and Chris Mears, sharing a moment of victory and mutual admiration by the pool, because who hasn’t jumped into the arms of a fellow athlete on international TV achris-and-jack-copyfter a great dive? In truth, Jack and Chris aren’t just teammates but also great friends. They live together and just co-signed a mortgage on a house. But Jack and Chris are totally straight and even have girlfriends—well, former girlfriends. They were fodder for the tabloids even before the Games, but it was that joint mortgage that put them on the front page.
  • The third is an undoctored photo of two members of the German field german-teamhockey team, Linus Butt and Florian Fuchs, whose names and proximity created this risible effect. Germany defeated Canada 6–2, and the double entendres flew: The Canadians “took a pounding,” Germany was “on top of Canada,” but there were “no sore losers.” You get the idea.
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