As the entire stadium at Belo Horizonte was experiencing collective post-traumatic stress disorder by half time, it was interesting to see how this latest sporting disaster was reported — via close-ups of crying female fans. David Luiz aside, when the TV cameras panned around the stadium, they zoomed in on weeping women.
Throughout the World Cup the cameras zoomed in on female football fans, providing they were young and good looking, then hovered just a moment too long. Their male equivalents were ignored. Why? Is it because all sports camera operators are slightly creepy heterosexual males? Or are they just carrying out orders, to seek out pretty female faces — especially if they are attached to jiggling female bodies — and then linger on them? Is there some kind of policy at the production meetings where someone says, “Right chaps, you know what to do — film the football but make sure you get loads of ladies in there too. No mingers, though — just the cute twentysomethings. And NO HOT BOYS, other than the ones on the pitch. Otherwise that would be too gay. Got it?”
It’s the same in tennis.
The Daily Mail was able to devote a whole double page spread to Kate Middleton not playing tennis, but watching it, complete with a variety of tennis-watching faces. This was news, people. Woman Watches Tennis.
Female sport spectators are a spectator sport. It actually has a name — the honey shot. You know, like porn, except honey instead of money. I know. Hilarious. It really is deliberate policy, pioneered in the 1980s in the US, and working on the assumption that all men need to snack on a bit of decorative lady eye-candy in between the important business of watching men doing manly sporty stuff, while all lady sport watchers are there because they are better at looking pretty on the sidelines than actually doing sweaty sporty stuff themselves.
This is not to denigrate the celebration of beauty. Ladies are gorgeous. But so are many, many men, yet we never get to see that lascivious camera licking them over. Where are the honey shots of guys stripping off their football shirts in the stadiums? Oh wait. They do exist. They just tend to be 20 stone bellowing Newcastle supporters with tattooed man boobs. Yikes.