LONDON — The 2012 London Games have been labeled "the women's Olympics" thanks to record-setting performances and watershed moments like the dawn of women's boxing as well as the participation of female athletes from Saudi Arabia.
How did NBC decide to help celebrate this incredible time for women in sports? With meaningless objectification, of course!
"Bodies In Motion" was an online video produced by NBC in which women competing in various Olympic sports were featured in softcore, fetishist slow-motion highlights, while porn-tastic jazz music played on the soundtrack.
It looked like something a testosterone-filled teenager with a DVR would have spliced together for YouTube; instead, it was the official rights holder of the Olympics in the U.S. that produced it.
As of Friday night, the video has been removed from NBCOlympics.com, according to the Huffington Post. The original URL for the clip now leads to a page that reads, "The page was not found or there was an error. You will be redirected in a few seconds to the homepage. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Seems like NBC heard the backlash loud and clear.
You'd think that something called "Bodies in Motion" wouldn't be code for "Rejected bumper reel from The Man Show," but I guess I'm not plugged in to the hip, with it language of the youths nowadays or on board with the notion that Olympic bodies are at their most noteworthy when they're female, (mostly) white, stereotypically feminine, and thin. At least NBC's contribution to Boner Jams 2012 doesn't include any underage gymnasts.
The cluelessness of it even extends to the written description for the video: "Check out these bodies in motion during the Olympic Games," as if the women it's portraying, none of whom are identified by name, or country, which might have been a petty distraction from ogling, are inanimate objects rather than people. This utterly contentless video, which communicates nothing about the events these women are participating in or what it takes to perform them, might meet the editorial standards at Maxim, though the video quality isn't even particularly impressive. There is no way it should pass the editorial standards for a news organization.
There was more reaction on Twitter, which you can find here. A sample:
It's one thing to celebrate the human form, and the inherent sex appeal of Olympic athletes. These are bodies in peak physical condition, and it's OK to acknowledge that sexual attraction could be the determining factor in, say, choosing to watch swimming vs. weightlifting.
It celebrated the fact that women contort their bodies into provocative positions in field hockey and the high jump. It celebrated the fact that tennis players' skirts blow up in the wind and hurdlers have to take their track pants off before a race. It celebrated the fact that beach volleyball players pick their wedgies and occasionally pat each other on the bikini bottom. (Come to think of it, the video celebrated a lot of women's beach volleyball.)
Now, thanks to the backlash, we can celebrate that apparently better judgment prevailed in NBC's pulling the video.
But if it really wanted to make amends with offended women's sports participants and fans … how about three minutes of the 25 women and women's teams that captured gold for the U.S., raising their medals in super-slow-motion?
We'll even let you keep the porno music.
More London Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Why water polo player Brenda Villa should carry U.S. flag in Closing Ceremony
• Video: U.S. swimming star Natalie Coughlin debates retirement
• Hope Solo's controversial road to women's soccer gold