If you had visited the Billabong website, the above image is what you would have been greeted with, until recently that is.

The design has since changed. It's not hard to fathom why.

Karen Knowlton recently wrote an article on Women 2.0, where she searing criticised the athletic apparel manufacturer.

You are ostensibly an athletic apparel company, yes? And you presumably have a fleet of badass female surfers you could photograph and displayactually surfing? Or even just frolicking on the beach in their perfect bodies and pretending to have fun? You know, images of women as actual people who have experiences in their bodies, rather than the female body as simply an object to be viewed and consumed by others.

You could even pick out just the right action shots to make sure you don’t lose the sex appeal. You know, wet hair sexy and tousled, models looking extra focused and a bit pouty, perfect bums on display as they wait for a wave. But at least get one of these girls on an actual surfboard, would you please?

Naturally, photos of guys actually surfing dominated most of the walls at Rip Curl, while the few lone representations of women were purely voyeuristic and sexualized. Standard practice, really.

The piece went viral, and was quickly picked up by women surfer groups and a handful of other outlets.

She explained:

I was so excited when I learned that pro athletes like Jamie Anderson had shared my post. I can only imagine how tough this stuff must be for female pros to navigate, across virtually every sport.

It’s insane to me that even at the pro level, and even in 2017, women’s sexuality is still more important than their skill. Surely we all deserve better than this?

Despite prominent discussion of the article among media outlets and on the surfing subreddit, Billabong have yet to make a public statement about the article.

HT Metro

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