College basketball player Brittney Griner is the subject of great debate this week, after an article in the New York Times on Monday discussed her androgynous looks and the changing standards of American beauty. The author, fashion writer Guy Trebay, interviewed a fashion stylist and editor, director of the Cambridge Center for Gender Relations, and model agent, who are all apparently fans of her unconventional looks. Her increased visibility and that of other female athletes like Serena and Venus Williams, Paula Radcliffe, and Maria Sharapova over the last decade seem evidence to him that beauty standards are shifting.
If that idea leaves you snorting, you’re not alone: in an article on Jezebel yesterday, writer Sadie Stein blasted apart Trebay’s theory, arguing that the article objectified Griner, treating her as a novelty. Moreover, she argues that “far from being universally hailed as a new beauty paradigm, apparently Griner has been subject to a lot of taunts and abuse on the court”. Whatever model scouts and academics might think, Griner is far from the average beauty standard we see in magazines, movies, television, and advertising.
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