Badminton Officials Mandate Skirts

EPA / Landov

Can short skirts increase badminton's ratings? The Badminton World Federation thinks they can. The badminton governing body, working with a marketing company, has mandated that women wear skirts and dresses to create a more “attractive presentation” ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. The move is being criticized as a sexist attempt to sexualize women, and as an offense to Muslim women, who play the sport in Asian countries. The deputy president of the Badminton Federation denies they're trying to use sex to promote the sport, but he complains that some women compete in oversize shorts and long pants that look “baggy, almost like men.” “We want them to look nicer on the court and have more marketing value for themselves,” he says. “I’m surprised we got a lot of criticism.” Women compete in skimpier clothes than men in Olympic volleyball, but that has an element of practicality: it's easier to clear sand form a two-piece swimsuit than a one-piece.