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May 6, 2024 18 mins

Recently, Nike got in some hot water after debuting a very revealing women's uniform for Team USA's track and field competitors. We chat about the internet firestorm that ensued, the company's response, and why it is (and has been) an issue.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Annie and Samantha. I'm awkward to stuff'll
never tell you protection of iHeartRadio. And today is May second,
twenty twenty four. I'm just gonna put that in there
because this conversation we're talking about today is changing ongoing. Also,

you can see our book for more information about this,
because we're kind of talking about sexualized costumes, costumes iman
kind of uniforms for women in sports, and we have
a section on that in our book. We've also talked
about it before in I think mostly update episodes where
we've talked about sports, and you can see our Olympics

episode that we did. But yeah, this comes up depressingly often,
and here we are again. Here we are again. So yes,
we are a little bit late to the game. But
back in mid April twenty twenty four, Nike revealed a
series of outfits uniforms for athletes competing in the Olympics

in twenty twenty four in Paris. One particular uniform caught
quite a lot of attention. It was a body suit
for Team USA's track and Field women's team specifically. But
I will clarify this more later because there's some argument
about that based on the image. The body suit appears

to be very high cut on the hips and extremely
uncomfortable and revealing. It is very high cut. It was
a whole thing, especially when the Internet got hold of
a side by side, which is how the company announced it.
They had a side by side of the men's uniform

with the women's. The men's uniform is a tank with
some mid length compression shorts, so very different. Nike face
all sorts of criticisms for this design. People, many of
them athletes are somehow in the realm of athletes, express
concern over sexualizing women with this over performance, and many

mistook it for a bathing suit. A lot of people
were genuinely like, oh, is this for swimming? Is not?
Former US track and field athlete Lauren Fleshman posted, professional
athletes should be able to compete without dedicating brain space
to constant pube vigilance or the mental gymnastics of having
every vulnerable piece of your body on display. Women's kits

should be in service to performance mentally and physically. If
this outfit was truly beneficial to physical performance, men would
wear it. This is not an elite athletic kit for
track and field. This is a costume born of patriarchal
forces that are no longer welcome or needed to get
eyes on women's sports. Long jumper Tara Woodhall posted, wait,

my houha is going to be out. Two time Paralympian
Famita onion Pecu posted this is clearly a joke. I'm
someone's mom. I can't be exposing myself in such ways.
Where are the shorts? Paralympian track and field athlete Juleen
Roberts said this mannequin is standing still in everything, showing

imagine mid flight. Woof. Here's a quote from The Daily Beast.
There's no way a female runner had any say in
that design. I hope USATF is paying for bikini waxes.
Another commenter wondered, if the Labia are hanging out on
a still mannequin, what do we expect to happen to

a moving person? And from the Atlantic quote in response
to the women's body suit included in the first look promo,
Grayson Murphy, a two time world champion in mount running,
said that Gussett is giving me anxiety. It's representing other
countries also sounded off on the design. Canadian hurdler and

two time olympian at Sage Watson wrote, Yeah, that's a
note for me. Dog. An English long jumper, Abigail Abigail
Irrazuru shared a photo of the uniforms to her Instagram
story with the caption was any female athlete consulted in
this team?

Speaker 2 (04:21):
Kit can? I read some of the comments so like,
I saw this on Instagram again, we're a little late
to the game and now and then, which is what
the news organizations had that posted, and people of course
commenting and the amount of men being like, what's the problem.
Oh yeah, y'all are complaining blah blah blah blah blah.
But like some of the comments in hair A Gold.

One was talking about the fact that Naire was going
to be their sponsor was one and then there was
a comment that says one huddle in and a whole
lip is going to slide out, oh, which I was
like yep. And then this one I thought was funny essentially,

was like it looks like Nike is supporting bring out
the bush, Let the bush out, And I was like
they are doing this is too good. And someone was
talking about where does my lapia go? And I was like,

at least they brought in. I mean, I feel like
after all of the conversations we've had about women's volleyball
teams and how they're like this is unnecessary, and again
being like why is this, Why is this necessary? Like
if it was that beneficial, as they had said, men
would be wearing it too, So either men should be
wearing this as well, or we should be wearing women

should be wearing what the men are wearing. Like it
it doesn't mean anything. And then like there was this
whole argument within the comments about how people women or
those arguing against us do not understand how balls work
compared to vaginas and they don't all hang out like
balls do. And I'm like, wow, you're super reaching, dude.

And it wasn't dude, by the way, man's to us
about how vaginas are easily covered.

Speaker 1 (06:15):
Right, which a lot of issues with it.

Speaker 2 (06:18):
Which it can be if it was shorts, if.

Speaker 1 (06:21):
It was shorts. But yeah, again, if you're like running,
which is what you're meant to do.

Speaker 2 (06:25):
In this at the hardest speed possible.

Speaker 1 (06:27):
Yes, And it's we've talked about this before. It was
is a running joke that women who do like that
volleyball or handball have like to have like a specific
wedgie pick that they do. They just do, which is
the thing that you have to do, and it's on
camera and like, and we've also talked about how these

sexualized uniforms have kept women girls from competing. Like literally,
if that's what I have to wear, I'm not confident
of that, right, not doing that. So it's a it's
a thing. It's a big deal, and I'm all, I'm
kind of flabbergasted by this whole thing just because to me,

also just that like different gender and outfits, Like, I know,
bodies are different, but you don't have to we don't
have to do it like this.

Speaker 2 (07:19):
The bodies are different, but it doesn't mean like one
can wear a little piece of lightning between their crotch
and then be able to jump, Like I can't imagine
the amount of sand. Yeah that's gonna fly up in
that if you're doing like a long jump.

Speaker 1 (07:38):
Yeah. And also I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure.
I'm pretty sure some companies can get a fine for streaming.
I mean, I don't know, this is a separate issue,
but for if like Pubes did, you can get fined

for it.

Speaker 2 (07:59):
Yeah, National TV.

Speaker 1 (08:02):
Yeah, which again that's kind of a separate thing, but
they're taking a risk, what I'm saying.

Speaker 2 (08:08):
And then can we just talk about the overall sexualization
that is oftentimes that if something is captured, if a
woman is captured in some kind of position, the way
that that's going to live on the internet and media
forever because Nike decided, the sponsored outfit decided this is

this is the one.

Speaker 1 (08:30):
Of course, And it's also going back to some of
those comments, Yes, you don't want to be wasting that
like brain space and time on any kind of maintenance,
but also that's going to kind of at least for
I would say a good amount of people take you
out like you're going to be thinking about that, and
you don't need to be thinking about that. You are

in like the toughest competition of your life, maybe right,
and you're worried about like, oh no, what if my
body looks weird?

Speaker 2 (08:58):
Right? Women are often talking about this jiggles or this
looks sunky, how you can see one of my stretch
marks here? Like having that in itself. And don't get
me wrong, I know these athletes are like in shape
and tone, but like whether they're too muscular there too,
Like so many conversations that happen about this that just
shouldn't be happening, as well as the fact that can

we talk about in a world where they say dress
appropriately or if you get attacked, you deserved it, and
then this is what they want to feature as professional
athletic gear.

Speaker 1 (09:28):
Right, okay, right, it's like, don't be sexual, but also
if you want to be in this, you've got to
be reliance.

Speaker 2 (09:38):
We need to show it off things of all everything.

Speaker 1 (09:42):
It just reinforces the idea too that men it's they're
the athletic ones. When it's nice that you're here, that
we can look at you, it's still your looks but
not your performance that we're into when so many things,
as we mentioned lately, like women are killing it. They

have been and they currently are in terms of sports,
in terms of what people are watching, in terms of
what people are interested in. So this is like an antiquated,
ridiculous sexist idea that needs to go that like women
are lesser wear the sexual outfit, right, I must say.

Nike has responded to these criticisms. One spokesperson said, we
showcased some of the new Olympic uniforms at the Nike
on Air Experience in Paris, but as we are a
few months from the games and working with limited samples
in a limited format presentation, not all looks and styles
were featured. They asserted that they have over fifty styles
and women are not limited to the leotard. They can

also wear the men's design if they want. I'm curious
about this. I would love if someone could write in
because I can't. That just confuses me. Then, I mean,
if you want to wear that, and we're going to
get into that in a second, that's totally fine. But
that was the one you showcase. I guess I.

Speaker 2 (11:12):
Look what we did, right, variation? How little you want
to cover?

Speaker 1 (11:18):
Yes? Oh, speaking of this is sort of funny to
me in a dark way. They also pointed out that
they raised the neckline of the leotard because they respect
women's comfort.

Speaker 2 (11:30):
Remember looking at that, going this doesn't make sense.

Speaker 1 (11:34):
Okay, you want points for that, right?

Speaker 2 (11:39):
I also think that same way about like skater skating outfits,
Like when figure skaters come about with like the fact
that the uniform is a bathing suit but with sleeves
that I'm like, I don't understand if that's comfortable, and
that maybe there's some reasons for that, I don't quite get.
I get like not having dresses and trains and things
like it's get stuck on you. Absolute get that, but

to the point that I'm like, I've always been like,
it always is such an oxymoron that I every time
I look at it just fills off when I see
sleeves and no no bottoms.

Speaker 1 (12:11):
But yeah, yeah, and to that end. So one of
the big complaints that we've been talking about, and that
was huge online, was people were saying, did you ask
anybody any woman who's going to be wearing this? Apparently
USA Track and Field claims that some athletes were consulted,

and since all of the online backlash, some have reported
that they do like the design. The mannequin just didn't
do it justice. This is also on the heels of
another outfit controversy courtesy of Nike, with the newly designed
MLB outfits that sort of became a meme because they're
see through and their bad quality and care to the

point that they are from what I understand, they are
going to redo them. It was I mean, I felt bad,
but I was laughing at pictures of it, like, oh yeah,
that's see true.

Speaker 2 (13:06):
I feel like they're just you would think with multimillion
dollar deals in contracts they would get good quality things.
I don't understand. Is this how they're like, oh, but
this is because of inflation, we have to do less
when we know that this has all been a lie
to begin with. Like, yes, that was a little bit
of problem during COVID, but it has been fixed since
then with a shortage, and you're just trying to make

more money. So are you trying to like cut through
some things so you can make more money for the
for the CEOs, Like I don't understand.

Speaker 1 (13:37):
I definitely think so. I definitely think so, but I
could be wrong, and let me know. I will say
in fairness, some have changed their mind after seeing this
bodysuit in person, including Davis Woodhall that we quoted earlier
quote it was the picture that did no justice. I
saw one today. They're beautiful. They're not like the picture.

The cut looks a bit different on that mannequin. They
just should have had a second look with someone to
choose that photo to post. I mean, it's the photo
is bad. It looks bad. And then I wanted to
end on this. So here's a quote from Gold medalist
poll Walter Katie Moon, who is sponsored by Nike. I

have to say, but she said that while she believes
the outfit is troubling. Quote, even if it's with the
best of intentions, you're ultimately attacking our decision as women
to wear it. The point is we do have the
choice of what to wear and whether we feel the
best in a potato sack or a bathing suit during competition.
We should support the autonomy. Should I agree with I
guess I'm just really curious about how much freedom of

choice there actually is.

Speaker 2 (14:46):
Right after all the conversations that we've seen and negotiations
and women being told they can't compete unless they follow
these things, including about hair and different types of things
like that, there hasn't been much choice, and there hasn't
been much conversations. So perhaps there is now, which is
great and choosing is great. But again, also it comes

to the fact like why did you choose? Did you
did you know this was going to controversy so people
would talk about it? And you did this on purpose?
Who chose this? Minnegan to stretch it up and give
it the worst wedgie in its life? Like who did this?
Like there's so many thought processes, like, after everything that
you've gone through as an organization that has seen sexism

within this type of field, why would you not have
a deeper conversation like that looks like the first thing
you see is that's going to show everything everything. Yeah,
and then if you're walking in that, that's going to
be up everything. So who did this? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (15:48):
Who did this? Who did this? Because either it is
the most like up too because again the last Olympics
in twenty twenty one, because COVID, they had the huge
backlash with the handball the handball team women's handball team protesting,
so it's like been a conversation and they got the rules,
they helped get the rules changed. So either you were

in doing this incredibly obtuse and like just not tuned
in at all. Oh yeah, you knew it would cause controversy.
I don't know, but they I mean when I was
researching this, like every article ended with kind of a
flustered comment, like they reached out to Nike for comment
and a flustered reply like we weren't done yet. So

I don't know. Again, listeners, if you have any more
information about this, I just if there's fifty options that's great,
but I feel like there's still got to be some
pressure where you're all wearing the same thing or something
like there's some because I usually when I watched the Olympics,

they're all wearing the same thing, right, So either this
is new or there is some kind of unspoken to
us as viewer, ur as an outsider, you're gonna wear this, yeah,
And I would like to know.

Speaker 2 (17:15):
It's also interesting to see alphas like this when major
sports events can happen in places like a tar where
wearing something like this will get you arrested.

Speaker 1 (17:23):
Mm hmm.

Speaker 2 (17:24):
And like it's Paris is obviously a little different, but
like you you think, like with an international issue like that,
and again I know it's only for the US team,
but it's just like there's so many indications and implications
when it comes to uniforms, and we already know it's
already like, uh right, an issue, but then you start
considering like the international aspect.

Speaker 1 (17:45):
Yeah, And just to hammer the point home again, I
think that they chose the side by side of what
they say was fifty options, and it's this one, the
male one that looks very functional and for women, it's
like a swimsuit is gonna show off everything. I think

that's also part of it. So yeah, listeners, let us know.
If you have any more information or have any thoughts
about this. You can email us a Stephani mom Stuff
at iHeartMedia dot com. You can find us on Twitter
at mom Stuff podcast, or on Instagram and TikTok as
Stuff I've Never Told You. We also are on YouTube.
We have a tea public store, and we have a

book you can get wherever you get your books where
we do talk about this stuff. Thanks as always too,
our super producer Christina, our executive producer Maya, and your
contributor Joey.

Speaker 2 (18:36):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (18:37):
Thanks to you for listening. Stuff I'll Never Told You
is protection of iHeartRadio more podcast from my Heart Radio.
You can check out their heart Radio app, Apple podcast,
or where you listen to your favorite shows.

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