Popular Culture Meets Psychology

Understanding ourselves through pop culture.

The Lingerie Football League (LFL)-Very Popular Culture

Lingerie football-15 yard penalty for bad taste.


The Lingerie Football League. Where do I begin?

In their never-ending attempt to draw the attention (and dollars) of the American public, PayPerView aired the Lingerie Bowl in 2004 during half-time of Super Bowl XXXVIII. Grimy, sweaty, full contact, seven-on-seven football featuring the most jaw dropping and scantily-clad women. Brilliant!!   A mere five years later, with the creation of the Lingerie Football League, we are witness once again to the painful yet enduring legacy of anti-feminism, the sexualization of women and the commodification of sex-all in the name of sport.image The very names of the teams: (Eastern Conference) Philadelphia Passion, Chicago Bliss, Miami Caliente, New York Majesty, Tampa Breeze and (Western conference), Dallas Desire, Denver Dream, LA Temptation, San Diego Seduction and Seattle Mist conjure up images way too steamy to discuss on a Psychology Today blog post.


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But that's the adult (and psychologist) in me talking..how boring! The adolescent in me says, "holy crap..is this a great country or what?" Why trouble myself sneaking Penthouse out of the corner convenience store or hacking into an Internet porn site when all I have to do is switch on lingerie football, female mud wrestling, roller derby or beach volleyball.  I can't wait until I am old enough to smoke and and drink."  

In no way do I question the physical and athletic prowess of these magnificent women of the gridiron or that of the mudpit, roller rink and volley ball court. I fully acknowledge that each and every one of them is a dedicated, highly competitive,health-conscious athlete, who is committed to her sport...and clearly able to kick my aging butt. But, unfortunately, my aging butt is connected to an aging sense of morality and capacity to see the bigger picture. And how do I teach that bigger picture to my own adolescent children and young clients when they are awash and adrift in a culture that profits in every way from this kind of testosterone-driven sexual spectacle. And I wonder how this will impact the athletic aspirations of our youngest female athletes? And what about the girls out there who want to play football, and come to believe that the only way they can do so, and be valued for it is to do so in their underwear?  Lot's of questions to ponder the next time you tune and turn on to an LFL competition.

Take a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UHb-5PSaNs

But also, please take a look at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrRtJY28ps8  which is a clip of Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.

Lawrence Rubin, psychologist and counseling professor, is co-author with psychiatrist Mike Brody of Messages: Self Help Through Popular Culture.


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