How Important is “Pretty”?

    BobLee
    July01/ 2015

    As America celebrates its Quadrennial (once every four years) month-long love affair with Women’s Soccer, “we” as a nation of eternally flawed humans are forced to face the VERY politically INcorrect reality that we like watching attractive a/k/a “pretty people”.

    Headline Wednesday Morning:

    FIFA Under Fire For Referring To Alex Morgan’s “Good Looks” – LINK.

    In today’s very wacky world…. “under fire” could mean one cross-eyed goober in a basement in Terre Haute tweeted something. A provocative “tweet” is the #1 pathway to an Andy Warhol 15-minutes of fame in 2015.

    Color me guilty as I stand “solo” at the bar of justice awaiting my sentencing for this most dreadful of human shortcomings…. I do “enjoy watching pretty people”.   

    “But but”, I plead, “I implore the High Court of Political Correctness to employ the UNC TruBlue Defense of EDI – “Everybody Does It”. Am I the only one…. or, indeed, is everybody doing “it”. “It” being admitting an interest in something due to the physical attractiveness of those doing “it”.   According to FoxNews’ Roger Ailes, I am NOT the only one.

    Should I, a humble Internet cyber-scribe be perp-walked into C Block for 10-20 for being aware that Alex Morgan is “pretty” ….. that so is Danica Patrick…. that so is Ronda Rousey (now).

     

    Along with “Albert” who is vaguely aware of Danica Patrick, a high  % of you are NOT even aware of Alex Morgan or Ronda Rousey but enough of the general population IS to generate measurable media awareness. In today’s media world of a bazillion cable channels plus the limitless universe of Social Media, even a few % points matter to Madison Avenue.

    Is it coincidence that Alex Morgan, Danica Patrick and Ronda Rousey have each voluntarily appeared in either Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and/or ESPN’s Body Issue within the past four years.

    Had they (Alex, Danica, Ronda) been concerned that they might be objectified for their “hotness”, would they have done so….. and unashamedly defended their decision to do so. I think not.

    Danica is probably the most mainstream of the three “sports hotties” as she has been on the scene the longest. I’ve always thought Danica was “pretty” and, I admit to following her career primarily because of that. How many of you have even heard of Janet Guthrie or Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney?

    But But BobLee, Danica has never won a NASCAR race. Guess what Bunky. Neither have 50% of the drivers in a typical NASCAR starting grid. Ten guys win 98% of NASCAR races. That Danica, despite being winless, sells tickets and a ton of merchandise is a fact. Reed Sorenson (0-200 in Sprint Series) does not do either.

    FWIW…. Reed Sorenson’s mamma is “hottier” than Danica. How do I know? To paraphrase “Donna on Suits” – Because I’m BobLee.

    Amy ReimannYou’re in a mall. You are in one of the anchor stores at one end. You see a sign that “a NASCAR driver” is appearing at the other end of the mall. Would you be more likely to walk thru the mall to see “a Busch brother” or to see Danica Patrick? ….. I follow NASCAR just a bit more than most of you. I’d likely make that walk to see Amy Reimann too. Google her.

    Ronda Rousey has become a sports media phenomenon. She is universally touted as the Michael Jordan – Tiger Woods (in their prime) of her sport – Women’s Ultimate Fighting.  Sure, there are only a dozen or so humans on the planet who she competes against…. but she easily beats “all comers”….. all dozen of them.

    In the past two years Ronda has actually competed less than ten total minutes and yet become “a sports phenomemon”…… due in no small part after “revealing her pretty / sexy side”. She has gotten several movie roles since “getting pretty”. A concidence?  Ronda Rousey three plus years ago was “biker babe” scary and virtually unknown outside the hard-core UFC community. Then she literally “let her hair down” and “prettied up”.

    Danica’s version of “pretty” has a wider appeal than Ronda’s. Whatever fantasiful thoughts accompany a guy seeing “a hot chick”, Ronda likely conjures different fantasies as her sport is “beating the crap out of people inside a cage”.   Blond locks flowing or in a tight bun, Ronda Rousey is still “a biker babe” for sure, but less scary these days. A Ronda Rousey “fan” might also be a Hope Solo “fan”.

    Then there is USWNT star – Alex Morgan. I don’t recall when I first became aware of Alex Morgan. Seems it was 3-4 years ago and it had to do more with her “looks” than her soccer prowess. I certainly appreciate the athletic skills of world-class soccer players of all genders. NOTE: I keep losing track of how many “genders” there are these days. Four or five last time I saw a list.  But that was last week.

    Alex Morgan is “apple pie pretty”. In the same way, even more so, that Danica is.  Ronda and Hope are not.

    FWIW…. Alex is “married” and “to a guy”. One must be specific these days ….. a male soccer player named Servando Carrasco.

    The veteran star of USWNT is Abby Wambaugh. Abby is an openly outed “gay athlete” and married to “not a guy”.  If you Google AAbby Wambaughbby Wambaugh, half of the “images” on her pages are of Alex Morgan ???  Huh?  You think I’m kidding.

    For as little as I follow women’s soccer I have no clue how “gay” the sport is based on % of players at various levels. Most of the members of the legendary 1999 team (Mia, Brandi, Carla, Judy, etc) are married to men…. if that means anything.

    On the “how gay” is a sport perceived, I think women’s basketball is considered “more gay” than “women’s soccer” but I could be very very incorrect. I have heard that “women’s softball” is very gay but, again, I have no empirical evidence to support or refute that.  I “read it on the Internet”.   🙂

    …. The most (Jennie Finchonly) famous “name” in Women’s Softball History is Jennie Finch who retired in 2010. Jennie was very “good” but known primarily as a knockout blond…. who also did “cheesecake” to advance her marketability.

    ..  For years the LPGA was unofficially known as “Dykes In Spikes” which may may not be the case these days. The LPGA golfers who gained mainstream popularity several decades ago – Jan Stephenson, Laura Baugh and Nancy Lopez – were never included in the “dykes in spikes” category. Nancy was the only one of the three to be “a consistent winner” on tour.

    Baugh and Stephenson being the Anna Kournikovas of The LPGA.

    Today’s most marketable LPGAers would be Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis. Both are decidedly “easy on the eyes”. ….. The LPGA is now dominated by women from the Far East – South Korea and Japan and has miniscule American TV presence.  It gets worse.  A recent list of “Prettiest Women Golfers” had Paulina Gretzky in its Top Five.  Paulina doesn’t even “play” golf.  She is married to WhatsHisName PGA guy that choked two weeks in the US Open…. and she is Wayne Gretzky’s daughter.

    What % of athletes playing a sport makes it “a gay sport”? What % of fans “gay or otherwise” following a sport would affect that sport being considered “popular among gays”? Is being “popular within the gay community” a quality that a female athlete would seek…. or prefer to downplay?

    Is Alex Morgan’s mainstream “popularity” affected positively by her apparent heterosexuality? Don’t know. If Alex Morgan was “gay” would her “good looks” be an ongoing factor when she is being mentioned as a member of the USWNT?   Does The LGQBT “allow” their members to “be pretty”?

    If  Alex, Hope and Abby’s team wins The FIFA World Cup Saturday…. who would YOU vote for to “do a Brandi Chasten”?  It is a rhetorical question.  Its 2015…. would a girl in a sports bra still create a world-wide sensation?

    Is “So-&-So is pretty” a coded message to “Relax, this one is NOT gay”?  Is THAT why there is this “firestorm” about references to Alex Morgan’s “looks”? Is that telling mainstream America “it’s OK to be a fan of this one”?

    Abby Wambaugh is, w/ Mia Hamm, one of THE 2-3 most legendary women soccer players in American history. I believe she has more goals than Mia and holds various other records. Abby affects a more “lesbian look” certainly than does Alex Morgan assuming there is “a lesbian look”. I have the world’s worst gay-dar for such things.

    Among the more ardent aficionados of women’s soccer, is sexual orientation a factor in a female athlete’s popularity among male fans….. among hetero female fans…. among gay fans…. among trans and bi’s?

    Would a stalker get any perverse satisfaction out of seeing a sweaty Alex Morgan in a soccer uniform running around on a field. Or going to a NASCAR race hoping to catch a glimpse of Danica wearing a helmet and firesuit inside a car. Does their (Alex and Danica) presence “sell tickets”. What do you think?

    Does Abby Wambaugh have a national fan club of “gay fans”? Probably. I’m guessing WNBA star “gay” Brittany Griner does too. Does that amount to a cult following”? Supreme Court decisions be damned…. is a female athlete’s Mainstream Marketability directly related to her “looks”….  AND to her sexual orientation?

    What say you folks?

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    BobLee
    • DeepThinkingPollster Reply
      4 years ago

      BL, very timely piece.  As an aside, it can be unsettling that you and I are thinking about the same things in the same perspective, at the same time.

      During the past couple of weeks, I have been asking friends, “what is the career market value of being a pretty person?”  I ask that in the context of corporate America of which I spent about 25 years.  I still interact with those held captive in those camps with golden handcuffs.  One friend’s response was “infinite” as for the pretty ones who reach CEO status, an argument could be made that she ran out of jobs to aspire and still had “pretty assets” left over.

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      Sandra Pushes Back

    • JackInAtlanta Reply
      4 years ago

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful.  I always enjoy the Reader Comments here…. BUT I never understand anything NCSU68 writes.  Is it me?  Is there like a secret code involved?
      .
      And I also LOVE your new Quirky News “stuff”.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        No. It’s not you. If there IS a secret code; I haven’t figured it out either. We practice “eccentric diversity” here.
        .
        Thanks for the props for QN. 🙂

    • fayettewuf Reply
      4 years ago

      Pretty(and straight) is important in what respect? I think it is important in endorsements of course. Navratilova was the Serena Williams of her day but my guess is her endorsement money was dwarfed by Chrissie’s. One of the most attractive tennis players I can remember was Gigi Fernandez but never saw her much off the court. Turns out she was gay.

      The defense of Danica could be used for Kournikova. She when healthy was ranked in the top twenty in singles, won some Grand Slams in doubles but is always used as the poster girl for the one that let her modeling affect her tennis.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        I’m not a Mad(ison Ave) Man so I can’t explain how “pretty & straight” equates to “marketability”. Would I buy a shampoo endorsed by Michael Sam? Not BECAUSE it was endorsed by Michael Sam. Plenty of not very attractive tennis players (and drivers) have “never won” too but we forget them. Could we say Anna K is MORE “Famous” for not ever winning than anything else ??

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      4 years ago

      Interesting take on the “Pretty is as Pretty DOES” concept.  Hows that working out for Jackie Hyland?  Did someone snitch on her for reading your columns or not wanting to have lunch with some of Jimmy G’s “political friends”?

      That is ALL speculation….but you do wonder.  Wonder what persuasion the JH replacement will be.  Would have thought by now that is MM was the shoe in, that the promo’s would have been running.  Would be a GREAT thing….she could do all the “”Stars & Bars” removal pieces.

      The funny emails are now showing buxom females (of many hair colors) in Stars and Bars bikinis with the headline….”I need to remove old Dixie’s flag…..it’s now illegal….OK, I guess that I will not break the law…” and you get the gist of the SECOND picture(s).

      I watched the FIFA slogfest last night and cheered for the USA.  The German girls were a bit more “athletic”, but there were some that could be on the SI cover.  Really great that USA gals pulled it out.

      HOW, have a good NCSU connection for a coach….

      Danica is making money for the “Team” and the OWNERS….regardless as to the finishing order.  Old Ricky seems content these days also….after she ditched her “statutory rape” convicted husband….gotta wonder about these PT guys…

       

       

       

    • Rachel Reply
      4 years ago

      Just so you know – I LOVE QUIRKY NEWS!  No idea how you decide what to post but I love the wide variety of “stuff” I would never find on my own.   I visit your website several times/day now so I don’t miss anything.

       

      It’s ALL good!

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Well BY Golly! And we are NOT related, are we? We are very excited about the NEW Quirky News feature. Keeping the subjects “all over the place” is our #1 criteria in looking for “stuff”. We have certain news sources we will keep going back to for certain general topics, but always looking for new “stuff” sources. We can already tell certain topics will always draw a high volume of interest…. “sex kittens of the 60s” for instance. 🙂

    • TheCowdog Reply
      4 years ago

      Look up an old Sporting News, circa 74ish.

      “Are College Sports Becoming Violent?”

      You’ll find that “Flower Power” guy on the front page.

      He wasn’t delivering roses.

      😉

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Was he flashing his “oooohhhhmmm” finger thingy?

    • bob Reply
      4 years ago

      I forgot BobLee politics likes pretty people too.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Does that explain Hillary Clinton? Aaaaiieeeee!

    • bob Reply
      4 years ago

      Its not just sports in regards to “pretty or good looking” BobLee. The working world has the same affliction.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        OK, I agree. Are “unattractive women” at a disadvantage in climbing a corporate ladder? Do “pretty women” have an unfair advantage OR are they (the pretty ones) saddled with being considered “airheads” or “flirting/sleeping their way” up the ladder?
        .
        Is “it” a reality whenever men evaluate women under any circumstance. Is “looks” the first criteria when a man meets / encounters a woman in person or in watching sports. Did you pull for Chris Evert over Martina?

    • TheCowdog Reply
      4 years ago

      OK…my kid played 4 years of college softball and is in her first year of pro ball.

      I did the math. 12% if it matters. It doesn’t, but….you brought it up, and it’s all I got.

      And yes, she is as gorgeous as her old man!!  🙂

      …Funny thing. American boys are intimidated by her.

      Netherland guys, apparently not so much.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        There are “Netherland guys”??? Is she a “Flower Child” like her old man was? Will she make it to 60?

    • BobLee Reply
      4 years ago

      For those of you wanting to “Comment” but don’t have a Facebook comment and don’t want to get into Facebook…. YOU DON”T HAVE TO.

       

      Just “comment” with your email address (that no one sees).  That black shadow will appear as your avatar.

       

      If you want an Avatar (a little picture of whatever you want)…. go to Gravatar.com and sign up.  No charge and you can create your own avatar. That will appear whenever you comment.

       

      You DO NOT need a Facebook Account to comment here….  🙂

    • EdTh Reply
      4 years ago

      Women Soccer is like Girls Gymnastics@ The Olympics.  “America” gets all excited about both for a few weeks every four years then “goes dormant” until the next four-year go-round.  It’s great…. I follow both sports “every four years” then forget about them in-between.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        You think Curling will ever reach that point? Is there room in our sports calendar for water polo?
        .
        Was Misty May in her beach volleyball “uniform” also “too sexy”? Both Misty May and Jennie Finch married MLB guys.

    • MarvinB Reply
      4 years ago

      THANK YOU for the truth about Danica Patrick.  Ten guys DO win 98% of NASCAR races.  Her average finish over her career is quite respectable.

       

      Yes, she benefits from being “a pretty girl” driving in NASCAR and NO, she will probably never be In The Chase but neither will 50% of the boys driving in NASCAR.

       

      BL, I love that you are never afraid to say what no one else will say but everyone is thinking.  Give’em hell!

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Thanks. It helps that I don’t have an Editor, a Publisher or Ad Sales guys terrified that I might offend someone. Being “a rogue cyber-journalist” has its advantages.
        .
        The Danica-haters will always be around. If it wasn’t Danica they would be hating the closing of Rockingham and North Wtilkesboro. Haters gonna hate.

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      I know too many PDEW married to UDEM, including yours truly, to think it matters. Though I’ve never figured out the SI swimsuit issue. Are men buying those swimsuits for themselves? Could be. The times they are a-changing.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Men reading the SI Swimsuit Issue is akin to dogs reading Car & Driver.
        .
        What would I do with one of them if I caught me one?”

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