"I support women in sport awards" includes topless women

[UPDATE] 'We got it wrong' - Women's Health Mag apologises for semi-naked painted models at sports awards

The Women's Health Australia "I support women in sport awards" was held this week to recognise the achievements of Australia's female athletes. 

Danielle Warby, a board director of the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association asked Women's Health editor Felicity Harley for an explanation. Harley responded by dodging responsibility and blaming the media.

Harley also hasn't explained why Women's Health Australia hired naked models.  

Speaking to the SMH, Warby said "The sexualisation of women in sport is a massive issue,"..."These women are not athletes, they are naked and I don't know why they are there."

Here's why this is important:

Sexual objectification undermines women and girls equal participation in sport. 

Focusing on an athlete’s physical attributes in an overtly sexual manner can create anxiety and embarrassment for the individual. This may be compounded by a heightened body awareness already present in many female athletes. If the athlete does not feel she ‘measures up’ to an external judgment of her physique, her self-esteem may suffer.

A potential consequence of lowered self-esteem is compromised athletic performance. The athlete becomes distracted both on and off the arena of sport, and may be tempted into unhealthy eating habits. In younger athletes, where self-confidence may be less secure, the increased focus on the body because of sexploitation can lead to a poor body image. There is a wealth of research linking poor body image with increased risk of eating disorders or disordered eating behaviours.

(source: Jan Borrie, Shaping up to the image makers, Panorama, The Canberra Times, 27 May 2000)

A Magazine titled "Women's Health" should know better than to pull a stunt like this. Our elite female athletes - and the young aspiring athletes looking to follow their example - deserve better.  

Take Action! Make your voice heard - Tweet, Facebook or email


Tweet Womens Health Magazine @womenshealthaus

Tweet Australian Government is included amoung the sponsors of the event.  Contact the Minister for Health and Sport Peter Dutton.  @PeterDutton_MP

Follow Danielle Warby's advice - 


Contact Women's Health Magazine Australia https://www.facebook.com/womenshealthaus


Minister for Health and Sport Peter Dutton  [email protected]

Women's Health Magazine:  [email protected]

More reading on the sexual exploitation of women in sport

Our 2010 campaign re Bikini Track sprint


Cori Schumacher on Roxy and 'sex sells'


Melinda Tankard Reist on Marion Bartoli and Leisl Jones 


The campaign against the Lingerie Football League in Australia 


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