Back in January when the Australian Open 2015 tournament was in full swing, certain stories and moments captured not just Australia but the world’s attention; one of them being an interview with Eugenie (Genie) Bouchard, currently the world no. 7 and 2014 Wimbledon runner-up. For those who aren’t aware, Canadian (gorgeous) tennis player had just won her second round match, when she was asked to give the audience a ‘twirl’ during her interview, to show off her brightly coloured Nike yellow and pink outfit. Sounds harmless right? Apparently not…
A moment like this became the talk of the entire world soon after, not because people wanted to know where to purchase Genie’s outfit from, but people claimed the question to be ‘sexist’ and hence sparked controversy. It started on Twitter, with people sending outraged tweets based on the interview, claiming that male tennis players wouldn’t be asked to do anything ridiculous like that so why should Genie?
The interview also sparked conversation on platforms such as Facebook as well as articles being published in our local Herald Sun and international publications including the UK’s Daily Mail and Hello! Magazine in Canada. Not only that, but fellow tennis players participating in the tournament were also being asked on their opinion on the incident in their post-match interviews. Players like Maria Sharapova blatantly admitted she didn’t care; “I really have no interest in that, honestly. I’m sure you guys have covered every part of it. You know, I stay away from that.”
So what happened in the end? Channel 7 decided to distance itself from the controversy, claiming the interviewer Ian Cohen actually worked as a broadcaster for Tennis Australia. Eugenie Bouchard herself didn’t kick up too much of a stink, laughing about the whole incident and posting a cartoon picture on Twitter, tweeting “It could have been worse”.
So there you have it, one of the memorable moments of the Australian Open 2015 which became the talk of the world. Social media and the internet have demonstrated, in this case, to be able to create areas of discussion and controversy around the world, from something seeming to be comedic and harmless, to a campaign of sexism against women and discrimination. What if social media and the internet didn’t exist? Would this even have been an issue or would it have been swept under the rug and not been noticed at all? Now that the internet plays such a prominent role in the majority of people’s lives, it allows the people to speak openly and freely about what they wish, being able to express their opinions on what’s important to them and what issues need to be raised, including this blog! Now that’s what I call, the beauty of the internet.
But how about you? Do you feel comfortable expressing your views and opinions on the internet? Would you get involved or consider yourself a bystander? Was asking Genie to ‘give us a twirl’ sexist? Let me know in the comments below!