So apparently there was this cool sailing race in Russia, where this badass sailor featured below was participating. But that’s all I know because the popular website Sailing Anarchy, posing as a sailing news outlet, chose not to include any information about the sailor, the boat, or the race. In fact, they didn’t even use this photo featured here. Instead they used a photo from astern when she tipped her boat and had to maneuver herself back into it. The photo reveals quite an act of clambering, and quite the feat of athleticism. But that’s not all that it revealed.
Not only did the angle of the photo reveal this sailor woman’s buttox and crotch area, but the context in which Sailing Anarchy published it (and then their response when people expressed opposition) revealed a sexist agenda that promotes a male first environment within the sailing community, and a publisher that refuses to take accountability for discriminatory content.
The photo in itself is not discriminatory at all. The subject is doing something pretty awesome that requires skill and the frame absolutely captures that. Plus, the female form should not be banished because men are unable to control themselves from sexualizing it. But Sailing Anarchy posted that photo by itself, with a sarcastic caption. It was posted under a type of reoccurring “series” on Sailing Anarchy, tagged as “SCOTW” which seems to be the publisher’s kind of photo of the week. This category regularly demeans women sailors and propagates an environment where women are not welcome to participate as equals to men, but as subjects to be gawked at where their worth as humans (and as sailors) is measured by how they look.
There are several accounts of lewd comments surrounding female sailor content written all over the Sailing Anarchy “news” feed and the forums. In the instance of this particular post, many women and men wrote in expressing why they felt the context of the photograph was wrong. Some even tried to open a conversation and ask why. The problem would be so easy to fix. Simply stop posting photos and stories of women where their bodies and what their bodies look like is the main focus.
In between insults hurled at me personally, the publisher’s only defense to my question of why was there no mention of the sailor’s name, race, class, etc., was “The photo was submitted.” However upon further investigation it’s very clear to see that the race coordinators are active on the thread for this featured photo, and they can be seen asking Sailing Anarchy if they would include some actual info about the race in the post.
Sailing Anarchy officials chose to respond to comments protesting this type of sexist content by using derogatory slurs for the word vagina, calling protestors psychotic, and otherwise personally attacking anyone urging for a more equal rights approach to content surrounding women.
The definition I’ve always liked to use for the word anarchy is “the ability to be so free that you are ungovernable.” Sailing Anarchy is a bastardization of the word. Real anarchists are freedom chasers. They are freedom fighters. They are allies. And they will speak up when there is discriminatory content. Sexist discourse is hate speech, and I wonder what Sailing Anarchy’s sponsors would think of that?