The Sliming Of A Champion: Wimbledon Star Marion Bartoli Is Not Blonde Or Thin… She’s Just A Winner

The very ‘ugly’ Marion Bartoli. Image by Robe de Soirée  @ TennisFeminin

How pathetic that Marion Bartoli has to make the point that her dream was NOT to be Barbie, but to work hard to achieve her goal of winning at Wimbledon? Image by Robe de Soirée @ TennisFeminin

So before we go any further, please take a look at the woman pictured above and tell me if you think she’s a “fat, ugly slob.” Of course you don’t, because she’s not. What she is is a champion. A healthy, strong, physically trained and athletically skilled woman who happens to be French and who just won Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious sporting competitions in the world. Her name is Marion Bartoli. And after Marion won this prestigious championship – one which she was not predicted to win – what kind of responses do you think she got from the cheering public?

Here are just a few of the Tweets:

Bartoli tweets

Yes, I’m queasy too. You can find even more of these gems of male repugnance at the Tumblr page called “Public Shaming,” which lists other “slime Bartoli” Tweets in all their bottom-feeding glory. Suggestion: if you’re on Twitter, and when you’ve got some time to waste, click on the Twitter pages of each of these deeply misguided young men (and unfortunately, some young women of the “mean girls” ilk) and let them know just what you think of their ignorant, unconscionable blather. You’d be doing them a favor; clearly these people need a lesson or two in civil behavior.

But here’s the problem; it wasn’t just idiot nobodies who took to social media to slime this talented sportswoman. From USA Today:

Moments after the greatest moment of Bartoli’s career, BBC Radio 5 commentator John Inverdale posed the following question to his listeners.

“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.’” [Emphasis added]

That’s deep, John. While dunderheaded scumbuckets on Twitter are “word raping” this women online, we’ve even got you, a major radio commentator, making the point that Bartoli isn’t a “looker” like the model-pretty Maria Sharapova… who did NOT, by the way, just win at Wimbledon.

And just who is John Inverdale? Is he, by chance, a “looker” himself? You decide:

Nope, not a looker. But despite his rough-hewn visage and sartorial misstep with the shirt, he’s made a media success of himself, enough to feel qualified to take digs at Bartoli for the purpose of… what? Can’t think of one good reason to for anyone to make any comment at all about her looks, body, weight, body parts, etc. But, oh, they did.

The only good thing to come of the Inverdale mess is the knowledge that BBC received over 674 complaints about his comment. That’s not near enough, but one can assume (hope) there were scores of others equally miffed who didn’t take the time to contact the station. From Independent UK:

A statement from the BBC said: “John is one of our most experienced presenters. The BBC has apologised for the comment made before Saturday’s final, as has John himself. John has also written a personal apology to Marion Bartoli.”

In response to Inverdale’s comments, Bartoli said: “I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”

How pathetic is it that a woman whose only ‘crime’ is that she’s not skinny, blonde or model-perfect has to make the point that her dream was not to be a Barbie Doll, but rather to work hard enough at her sport to achieve the goal of winning at Wimbledon?! That should be something to admire in any woman. That men like Inverdale and the knuckle-scrappers on Twitter feel entitled to insult her, some in the most egregious language possible, is a larger statement about the continuing and pervasive culture of misogyny and sexism too many men get away with from the time they insult the girl with glasses in grade school to when they  use social media to verbally assault a woman about her body and sexuality. It cannot be overstated that this is the behavior that brews a culture of rape, sexual assault, sexual bullying, domestic violence, sexual harassment and anything else on that list of toxic male behaviors. One has to wonder how these men (and their empty-headed female counterparts) missed the life lessons on civility and class.

One can only hope Bartoli celebrates her win as she should and brushes this off as so much useless noise, holding firm to her strong belief in herself. My guess is that she will. One can also hope that fathers and mothers look at this event as one of those “learning moments”; an opportunity to use a real-life event to teach their own daughters healthy priorities: to care less about their looks and more about their hearts, souls and ever-so-resilient spines. It’s a challenging lesson in a time and culture when women torture themselves with relentless diets, drugs and cosmetic surgery to meet the unattainable standard of perfection and everlasting youth held as the holy grail. But try. Start the lessons early, before the bullies, the media, and the chatterers get to them.

And while parents are in mentoring mode, it would also behoove them to teach their boys about respect, ethics, manners, and that thing called a moral compass. It’s clear the many thugs on Twitter missed that particular lesson, amongst many others.

And while it is NOT important what size, shape or degree of beauty Marion Bartoli embodies, it is worth noting just how off-balance her braying critics are. Beyond the lovely picture above, look at the one below. That’s a woman with strength, power and excellent health. Nothing ugly about any of that, not matter what those upset by her victory may try to say.