After winning a second round match at the Australian Open, women’s world tennis no. 7 Eugenie Bouchard was asked to “twirl” by a reporter. “A twirl, like a pirouette, here you go,” she happily complied, showing off her neon pink and yellow dress.
“It was very unexpected,” she said in her post-match press conference. “I don’t know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny.” While the Wimbledon runner up reacted appropriately, if a little awkwardly, the interviewer, Ian Cohen, a tennis commentator for Tennis Australia, has been blasted for sexism.
Not surprisingly, a conversation’s started brewing on social media where many are saying that the professional athlete “deserves better,” and others calling the interaction “cringe worthy.” One person even asked, “Is this tennis or the Hunger Games?” Serena Williams was also asked to spin around. Her two cents? “A commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn’t ask Rafa (Nadal) or Roger (Federer) to twirl. Whether it’s sexist or not, I don’t know. I can’t answer that.”
This blatant display of sexism comes at a time when women are very loudly speaking out against inequality in all walks of life: equal pay, reproduction rights, domestic and sexual violence, to name a few. Specifically within the fashion world, the Representation Project, an organization that strives to bring to light the “injustices created by gender stereotypes,” wants women to be seen for more than just their clothes. In 2013, they launched the #AskHerMore campaign, a project that encourages journalists to talk to women about more than what they’re wearing. There’ve been recent improvements on the red carpet, but it sounds like sports commentators need a refresher on what is and isn’t appropriate on the court. For now, they should leave the twirling to the ballerinas.