I have moved into my data "generating" phase for my research analysis of online news coverage of celebrity and sport's figures in the headlines for domestic violence. As part of my sample, I am trying to document the race of victims and perpetrators, which has led me back into my data challenges of race as a social construct. Oh the complications- do I document what their race actually is (according to the official interwebs)? Simplify the data to overarching categories based on assumed public perception? What about people of mixed-race? Oh, how I dislike quantifying race.
Anyway, while plugging along hating this process, looking for the race of a girlfriend of a former MLB player (I'm looking at you Andruw Jones) I found this website: www.athleteswives.com. The purpose of the site is for “A 10 star rating system (which) allows visitors to rate the hottest wives and girlfriends of professional athletes.” Really?! What a despicable website. I am not sure why this surprised me, but I am flabbergasted that someone created the virtual equivalent of a high school ranked hot list for the partners of sports figures. They even have a twitter account @athleteswives.
So, I typed “athletes wives” into google to see if there were other sites like it, and sure enough!
Pro Athletes' Wives & Girlfriends (NBC New York)
Pro Athletes' Wives & Girlfriends (NBC Chicago)
Pictures: Hottest Sports Wives and Girlfriends (Chicago Tribune)
http://www.examiner.com/article/beautiful-wives-and-girlfriends-of-new-york-yankees-players (The Examiner)
30 Hottest Athletes' Wives and Girlfriends (Zimbio)
Now, these are NOT mostly websites created by high school boys and drunk and immature college students. These are on actual news sites! What a terrible statement about our culture, rape culture if you will. Instead of using the platform to hold up healthy, respectful and equal relationships, websites are being created to judge and rank women, which somehow reflects her worth as a person and his fame and status as an athlete. At best, it is a missed opportunity to model healthy relationships, at worst, it contributes to the objectification of women and the culture of violence against women. And, if you think it’s harmless fun, start noticing how many college and pro sports athletes are arrested for domestic violence.
UPDATE: Related Blog Post
Athletes' Wives: Less of This, More of That