Last week was Women’s Day. Also, last week was when Kim Kardashian made the Internet go crazy (again) and debate aspects related to feminism and how much a nude photograph is actually about empowerment (which I do not agree with, but I’ll go with it just for the sake of the argument). From my point of view that is not a proper example of empowerment or of honesty or courage. There are other ways to inspire that in women, if you want to act like that is a role you have taken on.
But speaking of honesty and courage, or at least in some doses depending on who you ask, there was another story last week that created major waves especially in the world of sport. It all started when one of the best and highest paid tennis players, Maria Sharapova, said that she was going to make a huge announcement. Many people interested in tennis were saying that she was going to announce that she is retiring, given that for a while now she has been struggling with injury. But closing in onto that specific announcement moment it became clear that it wouldn’t be about retirement. Sharapova even joked that she would choose a much better styled location with a more good looking carpet to deliver such news.
The announcement she made was about something that probably every upright professional player dreads and does everything in their power to avoid. She announced that, during the Australian Open this year, she tested positive for a substance that is banned as of 1st of January 2016. She also said she had been taken that medicine for ten years for certain problems and that she had received at the end of last year an updated list of the banned substances but that she ignored reading it. Of course, maybe that was not exactly her task, maybe she has a team responsible for her health and that should’ve known about this substance being banned. Nonetheless, she took responsibility for what she called a “huge mistake”.
No matter how you put it, it just doesn’t add up. It seems that a list of the to-be-banned substances was available since September 2015. You would think that as a professional athlete she would give this lots of attention because of how it can ruin someone’s career if they are tested positive. Tennis players from both the women’s and men’s tour were shocked to hear about this. Some refrained from making more comments, others said that this most certainly has to be punished while other applauded Maria for her honesty and courage to come out and admit to what happened instead of just trying to sweep it under the rug.
I cannot say I am a fan of hers, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t admire her performance over the years, her strength and focus during matches and how she fights, her aggressiveness being a trademark of hers. But the critic in me can’t help but not take this conference as a well-played PR strategy and I’m also having a hard time believing she did not have this so very important aspect, the medicine she takes, covered. I do think that she did the responsible thing though, given the situation.
I have been following tennis for a while now and it is indeed disappointing to hear of such things especially from one of the most representative characters of this sport. We’ll have to see what happens in Sharapova’s case and for how long she’ll be suspended from the game. Reputation will be a tough thing to recover, but that will be back in good shape eventually if it was indeed an honest mistake and things will be handled properly.
In terms of the Kim Kardashian story it isn’t like it was unexpected or something she doesn’t typically do. If you take a look at her social media accounts you’ll see what I mean. She is known for being sexy and at times exposing too much of her life or her body. But of course people react strongly about it every time because of how famous she is and how much eyes such “news” attracts. Things would have calmed down pretty soon if she hadn’t backfired at her critics in a not so PR-recommended way. She replied with nasty comments and even started bragging about how busy she is cashing in her tens of millions of dollars when she was “apologizing” for being late in responding to the criticism.
In contrast to Maria Sharapova, Kim Kardashian I really couldn’t say is a person to look up, because I look for different traits to admire in a person, famous or not, than what she frequently displays. Props to her for owning that cheeky attitude, but that does not mean she is an example to follow. Either way, she doesn’t not influence my life whatsoever. But it doesn’t cease to amaze me how people react to pictures of her like it is a matter of truly big importance. In the case of Maria Sharapova I am reconsidering the admiring part for obvious reasons.
My values are pretty much settled and I know how to choose my role models, the problem comes when we think about young people who see great success and popularity that is many times gained through mostly nude photos or acts of not admirable behavior. But in all honesty, the problem aren’t the humans on TV or social media because it all comes down to education eventually. Especially, how things are handled at home and such events like the storm created by a nude photo, which wants to be an empowerment declaration, or a doping situation in the case of a highly admired athlete are moderated and discussed at home.
What do you think about these two happenings of last week? Feel free to leave a comment below or write me an email HERE.