How important are appearances for female athletes? According to the ESPN movie Branded, that premieres August 27, 2013, it is essential to their image and bank account.
“Branded” is the last intallment of ESPN’s women-directed and women-focused documentary series “Nine for IX.” In the documentary Mary Lou Retton is quoted saying, “you’re either wholesome American squeaky clean or sexy vixen. Why do women have to be like that and the men don’t?” The documentary goes on to highlight the salaries of female athletes versus male athletes within the same sport. There is a huge gap and pretty female athletes are able to make up for the gap by getting paid through endorsements, while athletes who may not be as visually appealing to endorsers suffer.
The documentary highlights this year’s Wimbledon champ Marion Bartoli and the terrible comments that Bartoli received in stadiums and on social media. Tweets raced through twitter saying, “Bartoli looks like she’s a cross between man and ape.”"Female tennis is useless, I’ve never seen a disgusting champion like Bartoli.” The cruelty doesn’t end there, Bartoli was boo-ed in various appearances that she made after her big win. “Branded” makes a point – while Anna Kournikova was a great athlete her endorsements made her much more money than tennis. What does this teach the younger generations? Will they continue the vicious materialistic cycle?
“Branded” highlights the double standards and the tears down walls to reveal the nasty truth that society imposes on female athletes. Tune in to ESPN 8 p.m. EST on August 27, 2013 to see the ground breaking documentary “Branded.”