When we heard that Tamara Holder, the host of Sports Court, was hosting a debate about Olympic athletes and makeup, we felt a case of side-eye coming on. But as we watched, the side-eye developed into full-blown rage.
Holder was curious: do female athletes use makeup for empowerment? Or is it because sex sells?
She then introduced "two men without shortage of opinion," Bo Dietl (a Fox contributor and former detective for the New York City Police Department) and Mark Simone, NYC radio host and close friend of Donald Trump.
Obviously, they are not authorities on female athletes and their makeup preferences. Fox could have called in a sports psychologist, a makeup artist, an Olympic coach, or (duh!) a former female Olympic gold medalist. But no, these two dudes were apparently the two most qualified experts available for this debate.
"The whole point of the Olympics, the whole reason for this training . . . is product endorsements. Cosmetics companies are opening up a ton of revenue for product endorsements," said Simone.
While Mark has a point — many Olympians have gone on to be faces of CoverGirl — he also needs to take a seat. Yes, Procter and Gamble (the company that owns CoverGirl) is a major sponsor of the Olympic Games. But when an athlete signs a contract with an iconic beauty brand, it is a fringe benefit of becoming a revered sportswoman, not necessarily the end goal. Furthermore, P&G supports all athletes, not just its Olympian ambassadors. Well in advance of qualification for the Olympics, the corporation hosts events like the P&G Gymnastics Championships and partners with soccer clubs. These events help to give athletes some of the resources they need to achieve their goals.
Dietl had a different opinion on why Olympians should wear makeup. Apparently, he thinks his discomfort of viewing a woman without makeup takes precedence over her personal preference. "When you see an athlete, why should you have to look at some chick's zits?" Dietl said. "I like to see a person that wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful." However, he added that men could benefit from a little makeup as well. Michael Phelps, when you win your inevitable next gold, note that Dietl thinks you should put a little "blushatation" on your cheeks so you don't look like a "white rat."
The show then pulled up a quote that Shannon Rowbury, American middle distance runner, made to USA Today. "You can be a strong, athletic, courageous woman and you can wear lipstick," she said. Rowbury also remarked that she uses makeup as a form of creative expression during a race, as there aren't a lot of ways to express her personality when competing. "It puts me in my happy place before I start the race."
Simone insisted that Rowbury really puts on makeup for the cameras. "Look how beautiful you look with that makeup on . . . but what do you look like when you crawl out of bed in the morning?" Dietl asked of Holder, who seemed visibly uncomfortable before confessing that she "looks like a dragon." Sigh.
Remember, Gabby Douglas is the third-best gymnast in the entire world, but people still find it necessary to remark upon her "unkempt hair." While this Fox Sports clip is largely steeped in sexism, it's also disheartening proof that society is obsessed with sizing people up by their looks alone.
Makeup shaming is nothing new. Beauty-lovers of all ages, races, and genders have faced snide comments just because of their love for products. But to cast judgment on Olympic athletes for their appearance instead of celebrating their incredible power, determination, talent, and success is not just sad, but also laughable. They are the only ones who should decide whether or not they wear lipstick. Now if only an Olympian could challenge Dietl and Simone to a televised feat of strength, so those two bros would know what it feels like to be judged on such a large scale.