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With the cultural obsession with women’s beach volleyball and young female gymnasts, we should all be used to sexist coverage of the Olympic Games.

However, we managed to reach a new low this year as Fox News dedicated a segment to criticizing female Olympians’ makeup choices and accusing them of using sex to sell their various sports.

On her show “Sports Court” last week, Tamara Holder announced that “female Olympians are sexing it up more than ever by wearing makeup during their competitions.”

Because I’m sure that’s their thought there.

Holder called in the experts and turned to WOR Radio host Mark Simone and former NYPD detective Bo Dietl to answer this burning question of whether female athletes should wear makeup. Perhaps no one in the makeup industry or none of the many women who know their way around both sporting competitions and a color palette could make it.

Simone, who admits to wearing lipstick on TV and so at least has some personal experience, takes a practical tack with his answer, saying women competing in the Olympics should embrace makeup for the product endorsements.

“Cosmetic companies, you’re opening up a ton of revenue for product endorsements,” Simone said. “It’ll be great for every athlete in the future.”

Dietl, who had to be reminded of Michael Phelps’ name and so is clearly an Olympics expert, was a little more equal opportunity, suggesting that both men and women should put on some makeup sometime between their strenuous physical activity and the recognition that they did well at it.

“When you see an athlete, why should you have to look at some chicks’ zits or some guys’ zits on his face?” asked Dietl showing off his detective skills with the most pertinent question that could ever be asked in connection to the Olympics. “I’d like to see a woman getting a gold medal go up and there and look beautiful.”

Somehow the sole woman on the show manages to be the most misogynistic. (And yes, women can be sexist toward other women. It’s called “internalized misogyny,” and it’s equally as irritating as when men are sexist.)

Holder asked her guests pointedly whether the women wearing cosmetics at the Olympics are still appropriate role models for young girls. When Simone pointed out she was also wearing makeup today, Holder snapped, “I didn’t do it to empower young girls though.”

I’m sure this segment was not meant to be controversial or thought-provoking. It is probably someone’s idea of a fun feature piece. Whereas with most news organizations, when we want something light-hearted, we look to babies and puppies, Fox News goes to babies, puppies and casual sexism.

But here’s the thing, this segment may not be controversial, but it absolutely should be thought-provoking. Wearing makeup is not about men, something that the men of Fox News are apparently just not able to grasp.

As you can probably see in the photo that runs alongside my column, I like to wear bright lip color. It goes well with my usual fashion choices of bright colors, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether random men I run into will find it attractive.

The segment quotes U.S. middle-distance runner Shannon Rowbury, who told USA Today that she sees her lip color as a “form of expression” when her clothes and shoes are chosen by her team and sponsors.

“You can be a strong, athletic, courageous woman, and you can wear lipstick,” Rowbury said. “I like being able to be all those things or try to help inspire young women to be all those things. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

Like Rowbury, putting my lipstick on in the morning puts a smile on my face because it makes my face reflect my cheerful personality, the same way I enjoy wearing bright colors or snazzy shoes.

Somehow both Dietl and Simone hear Rowbury’s explanation that her makeup expresses her personality as her wanting to look good for people watching at home. They completely missed the point. Makeup is for the person wearing it, not for the pleasure of anyone who happens to look at the face.

I think it’s awesome that athletes like Rowbury embrace lipstick and eyeliner and all the other fun things we can paint our faces with. I think it’s awesome when women choose to skip makeup all together. They feel their personality is best expressed through their natural coloring or through a low-maintenance morning routine, and that’s fantastic for them as well.

Both groups make excellent role models, regardless of what anyone at Fox News thinks, because they are living for themselves, making their best choices and, oh yeah, bringing in some serious Olympic gold, which is the point of the whole two-week Rio vacation.


City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(17) comments


Awol...were they criticizing or just pointing it out?


Dopey, MSNBC isn't criticising female Olympians about their use of makeup as Jordan's column points out, Faux News is. I'm not a fan of either. If you listen to Faux News, then MSNBC, you can almost bet the truth is somewhere in between.


Faux News should take a look in the mirror. They sell sex to angry white older men. Show them some women wearing a pound of makeup, short tight dresses with 'lotsa leg and cleavage, they will believe any propaganda that is spewed. Then, they wonder how the best the RNC can give them for POTUS candidate is Trump? Faux News created Trump Frankenstein.


Msnbc sells sex to angry old lesbians....speaking of best they can do, democrats gotta rig an election, so their chosen career politician who has been caught in lie after lie, sold politcal favors for millions, deleted emails in violation if federal law and looked the other way while her husband abused teenage interns could win the primary. How many press conferences has Hillary done in the last year? Must be afraid of something.


Thank you for sharing.


How ironic Faux News would call-out female members of Team USA on make-up. They are the network of sexist dirtbags with the likes of recently exiled Roger Ailes. Yep, the sex-crazed Ailes goes for Barbie Doll figured, bare-legged, short dresses with revealing cleavage (with zoomed camera views that white male privileged old f*cks get their cheap thrills watching) required for their female anchors/commentator bimbos. How dare they critique our female Olympians on such trivial matters as makeup? Why not compliment and praise our female and male athletes? Most haven't a clue of their dedicated hard work and discipline to get to the Olympics. Why not investigate Trump's orange glow & find out if that hair IS real??!!??


Sex crazed? You mean like Carlos Danger and Billy Clinton? Did you hear about the Fairfax Virginia Mayors recent business endeavors? Guess which party he is from?


No news today or what?[spam]


I enjoy your articles Jourden, but you are wrong on many accounts with this one. Besides the fact that makeup, glitter & fake eyelashes imposes a safety issue for many athletes & a distraction to judges for many events (where hundredths of a point awarded makes all the difference), and also demeans other non-wearing athletes (who can't afford it?), it's intent is to (falsely) increase the nation-representing wearer's sexual market value in a social media-crazed society. Wearing makeup as a representing athlete is every bit egoic in nature as Fox's criticism of its use. You seem to operate on a double standard here. Can't have it both ways.


Clarification--hopefully Phelps discovers his true gender identity (like Bruce did) by the next Olympics... Would be nice to see her compete as a female (the Olympic committee needs to end genetic testing and stop discriminating against transgenders)

Phelps could probably win a few more golds.


You are pretty well uniformed, and ignorant. Not everything has to be a transgender issue. This is about sports, and competing with those who have achieved Olympic status, which is what the authors point.


Where is the outrage? The Olympic's gender test and discriminate against transgender athletes. What a shame that Bruce Jenner was forced to compete against men instead of persons of his gender.

Seems hypocritical to hold funds from schools who don't let men use the girls facilities, but allow our athletes to compete in a blatant sexist, transgender phobic event like the Olympics. Time has come to quit seperating athletes based on gender.


Their bodies, their choice. And consider what the Fox News-Babes have to look like on camera at 6 AM, the discussion should end there.


If Fox is so terrible, why watch them? There's always MSNBC for you.


Excellent column. Couldn't agree more!


The USA should not allow our athletes to compete in the Olympics as long as they are forcing men and women to compete in separate categories. If all combat positions are open to women and given the number of women as police officers, fire fighters etc, there is simply no excuse to separate them.

The Olympics also discriminates against transgenders. It's time to get rid of separate locker rooms, bathrooms and categories. This is the 21st century and being equal means being the same.


And if Phelps want to wear makeup, he can! Perhaps a bit of toenail polish will make his water resistance even better.

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