So, Miesha Tate has appeared in this year’s ESPN Body Issue, posing all but nude aside from some handwraps and tastefully photographed so you don’t actually see anything more than you would on the average California beach on a summer’s day.
It’s generated more than a little controversy, partially because Miesha had a good old rant at Ronda Rousey’s apparent hypocrisy in appearing last year, and from some girls saying that the act of posing nude demeans female athletes struggle to be seen as equals with their male counterparts.
Much as my more principled side tends to deplore the trend for physical attractiveness to be a factor in the promotion of female athletes (or any athletes for that matter, I’m here to watch fights, not marvel at your physique) and the persistent need for ring card girls, I have to say that is more than shouted down by other considerations, namely the sheer marketing fact that hot bodies sell and as a red blooded male, I’m not going to complain overmuch about such photos as the one above.
Yes, I agree with Miesha Tate about something. The sky itself may fall any second.
With Miesha specifically there are a few separate issues that need addressing. Firstly, the furore about her doing exactly what she criticised Ronda Rousey for last year.
It doesn’t hold up. Miesha criticised Ronda for doing the Body Issue after Rousey had taken some pot shots at the UFC ring girls, Arianny Celeste and for their modelling work, appearances in Playboy etc.
Now, playing the ‘I’m a serious athlete, who’s all up for women’s rights and don’t think we should be selling our bodies like that’ card and then proceeding to pose as nature intended for a magazine only marginally more credible is downright hypocritical.
So Miesha wasn’t castigating Ronda for posing, rather for doing so after attacking other girls for doing it.
In effect, Miesha is the one with perspective and the voice of non-hypocritical female solidarity here…
Now, as for the idea that female athletes posing in the nude is somehow unequal, it’s worth noting that the ESPN Body Issue features almost as many male athletes, often of a higher profile than the female ones (just given the nature of sport) who tend to be a tad less covered up than the females (if only because our pointless male nipples are deemed inoffensive, while women’s purposeful ones, are…)
Lets remember that sport is a business, and businesses need customers and as much as some of my more stiff necked values don’t like it, sex sells.
The Body Issue is invariably one of ESPN magazines best sellers, the pictures always go viral and for rising stars in a still developmental sport, that’s an awful lot of eyeballs seeing your face, learning your name, the name of your sport and maybe, just maybe putting some money back into that sport.
If ONE PERSON takes an interest in MMA because Miesha posed in the Body Issue, perhaps wondering ‘what’s this mixed martial arts thing that this hottie does?’ And starts watching shows, paying for pay per views, buying merch or even better starts going to training, then that is a worthwhile win for MMA.
Lets be honest, Miesha posing in the Body Issue will add some views to the upcoming TUF season and buys to her pay per view bout with Rousey at the end of the year.
Yes, the tendency of human beings to look at other human beings in terms of their perceived attractiveness, rather than objective valuations of their character and skills is a bit regrettable, but it is a solid, tried, tested and proven marketing tactic.
For balance, why not have a male fighter do it next year? Oh yeah, cause we see them roughly that naked all the time. In the cage, and nobody gives a shit.
Vale Tudo shorts don’t cover a whole lot more than an artistically placed arm or spray of water, do they?