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WILL WITT'S POSING HAVE IMPACT ON OTHER FEMALE ATHLETES?
Published November 12, 1998
Does Katarina Witt posing for Playboy "mean we've reached the point where a female athlete can take off her clothes without having a detrimental effect on other female athletes?," wonders Carol Slezak of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Slezak: "Unfortunately, I wouldn't bet on it. If a male athlete, say Michael Jordan, posed nude in Playgirl, there would be no negative repercussions for him or for any male athlete. We wouldn't suddenly take the careers of Brett Favre, David Wells, Scottie Pippen or Chris Chelios less seriously as a result of Jordan's decision. ... Why would Witt's photos even peripherally affect Martina Hingis or Yolanda Griffith? ... They shouldn't, but they always have. They help perpetuate the notion that a woman's primary roll in life is to be ogled by men." Slezak adds, "Female athletes aren't helping their cause by choosing to pose nude." If Playboy tries to "woo more female athletes to its pages," Slezak hopes the athletes "say no" (SUN-TIMES, 11/11). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs asks, "Are athletes role models? And if they are, what message is Witt sending?" Blizzards G Jen Rizzotti: "Women's sports has come so far and it seems like it's something where some males could say, 'See, this is what women's sports are about.' It could be degrading. ... I think we're at a point where what one well- known women athlete does, it kind of affects every other female athlete" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 11/12).