Columnist criticizes female Olympians for “killing womanhood”

Rachel-Approved Monday: Since when were the Olympics a beauty contest?

Starting off, I’m not Rachel. It’s Steph–the voice behind PD’s Facebook & Twitter pages. Rachel is on a bit of a hiatus for the time being, but I wanted to write a Rachel-Approved article to bring up an issue that got me and a few other PD staff riled up. On August 8th, a Turkish columnist named Yüksel Aytuğ outraged the internet by publishing an article on how the Olympics were “killing womanhood.” As if this was some new, urgent concept that demanded male policing of women’s interests and activities.

The Olympics may be over, but I believe this article or this issue should not be forgotten. It’s unreal that in 2012 women are still facing issues of discrimination and scrutiny. The columnist makes women sound like we’re only good for breeding and being eye candy: Aytuğ believes that the Olympics force women to “look more like men” in order to compete in the games and be successful. Their rigorous training, he says, makes them “broad-shouldered, flat-chested women with small hips; [they are] totally indistinguishable from men.”

Seriously? I don’t recall the Olympics being a beauty contest. This is another example of the media pressuring women to look a certain way. A woman’s identity shouldn’t be reduced to T&A, despite what Hollywood, primetime TV, videogames… okay, most of culture says. We’re much more than that.

This hits home because I’ve been playing soccer for about 18 years. I first started playing on a co-ed team, with only two other girls. It was difficult since some of the boys didn’t pass the ball to us or think we couldn’t score a goal just because we were girls, but I have to say that part of me is glad to have had a life experience like that one because it challenged me to be a stronger and better player. Now I have confidence to play the game and play it well—for example, I mostly play as keeper, winning “Best Keeper of the Season” awards and managing to score on the opposing keeper in indoor soccer–sometimes multiple times during one game.

To all girls and women, sometimes it may seem like you’re living in a man’s world, but keep on doing what you love to do and keep reminding the haters that we can do whatever men can do, maybe even better.

If you can’t guess how I feel about Aytuğ and his article by now, I’ll cut to the chase. In spirit of Rachel-approved articles, here’s my final verdict:

Disapprove: Isn’t it time men back off from dictating how we should live our lives?

To read more about Aytuğ and his article, check it out here.

And Aytuğ should really get a better education on women. So here is the tell-it-like-it-is Youtube personality Jenna Marbles to do some educating:

We can still be kick-ass athletes AND beautiful women. Femininity is not exclusive to women who walk the walk and talk the talk that society has scripted for us.

I wanted to end this article giving props to Nike for making this inspirational commercial. Not only does it make me proud to be a soccer girl, but a female athlete too.

I'm a quiet girl with a lot to say. I'm a self-proclaimed geek girl, book worm, and social media addict. I'm the digital marketing manager for PaperDroids, so you've probably spoken to me on Twitter or Facebook, or if not, come say hi! I also have a book blog called Feisty Little Woman (, where I write about strong female characters and their importance in novels and share my expertise about the publishing world.

  • JeN

    Love that you linked the Jenna Marbles response. She cracks me up.

    • Thanks!

      She was part of the reason why I wanted to write this article. I think, sometimes, men do need to be a little bit more educated about women and what better way than with Jenna Marbles.