Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today’s Washington Post investigation of widespread sexual exploitation of female bodybuilders should send shock waves through professional athletics.
The graphic stories of how athletes were pressured to pose for nude photographs that were posted to soft-core pornography sites—often, following pressure to pose in order to please prominent judges, promoters and managers—reveal a systemic culture of exploitation, abuse, and intimidation.
Women who want to move from amateur competitions to the pro level are pressured to pose nude, promised income from the photos that is never delivered, and subjected to judges and promoters demanding private visits to their hotel rooms.
The Post article spotlights two bodybuilding federations and a related network of paid websites, but NOW members know that the sexual exploitation of female athletes goes beyond the sport of bodybuilding. Sexual abuse and the economics of misogyny are rampant in professional sports. NOW demands that the justice system open an investigation of its own into this culture, bring wrongdoers to court, and make them pay.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.