- Female athletes in Japan have reported 2,500 images to a service set up to help fight the sexualization of women in sport.
- The site invites people to report sexualized photos of female athletes posted online.
- Since the Tokyo Olympics, the number of photos reported has almost doubled.
About 2,500 images have been reported to a new service designed to address the sexualization of women in sport in Japan.
The service was set up by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) last year after a number of former national team athletes complained that they were sexually photographed while competing. .
Launched in November 2020, it allows female athletes to report sexualized images taken of them during a competition on a designated website.
Kyodo News reports that the latest statistics released by the site represent a major increase in the number of images submitted in recent months, with the total almost doubling since July.
The increase is believed to be the result of heightened awareness of the problem due to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and a series of arrests earlier in the year.
Kyodo reports that in May, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested a 37-year-old man on suspicion of copyright infringement after he unauthorized posting photos of several female athletes on a pornographic website he operates .
In June, a 57-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of damaging the reputation of a female athlete by posting a sexualized video he secretly took of her on a porn site.
Kyodo News reports that in the cases that have been prosecuted, around half of the related material has been removed.
Last year, the JOC and six other sports governing bodies issued a joint statement pledging to eradicate such abuse in Japan, calling the taking and distribution of sexualized images of female athletes “despicable”.
“It is really important that the problem is not forgotten,” said Keiko Momii, JOC board member, according to Kyodo News.
“We will continue to educate people on this issue on a regular basis so that people can keep it in mind.”
Female athletes fight against sexualization
Female athletes are increasingly taking a stand against being sexualized and objectified during competition, with several prominent examples occurring in recent months.
At Tokyo 2020, the German women’s gymnastics team wore full leotards instead of the usual bikini cut leotards to combat sexualization in sports.
“To do the splits and jumps, sometimes leotards don’t cover everything, sometimes they slip and that’s why we invented a new form of leotard to make everyone feel safe around competitions and training.” said gymnast Sarah Voss.
“Anytime you don’t feel safe it distracts you from what you want to play. I think feeling safe and not thinking about what other people can and can’t see is quite relieving when you can. compete like that. “
Elsewhere in July, a Norwegian women’s beach handball team made international headlines when they were fined for refusing to wear bikini bottoms to compete, while an Austrian climber was subjected to twice to free shots of his buttocks broadcast on television.