Good looks don’t lead to national selection for Perry
A dirty undertone has started to play a part in Ellyse Perry’s seemingly inevitable decision to leave Canberra United following their ultimatum that she must decide whether she wants to be a full time football or cricket player.
As the debate over professionalism in Australian women’s sport has been healthily brought to the fore, so too has the grubby argument it seems to inevitably bring with it – that certain women only excel in sport because of their good looks.
Perry’s teammate in the Matildas, Lisa De Vanna, made a veiled reference to the issue when she posted on Twitter that results and ability should be what matters, not image.
One would have to assume Perry has only ever been selected on results and ability, having scored a goal on debut for the Matildas at age 16. She hadn’t played international cricket at that stage, so to suggest she was picked for any reason other than ability is off the mark.
It is fair, also, to assume she’s subsequently been picked on results or, at worst, reputation based on past performance (see Darius Boyd in a maroon jumper compared to a blue and red one: selection for reputation ain’t a crime).
In a follow-up Tweet De Vanna said she felt like the Bold and the Beautiful, to which some 140-character wielding wit wrote “u r bold and Ellyse Perry is the beautiful.”
De Vanna responded with “beautiful doesnt win games, it only destroys a team when it become more important then professionalism (sic).”
Though it is easy to take tweets and retorts out of context, the fact that De Vanna not only brought image but the idea that beauty destroys teams (in the beautiful game no less) needlessly introduced issues in to a debate which was supposed to be about professionalism and commitment.
So here’s the elephant in the room in all of this. Ellyse Perry is a good sort.
I mentioned this on The Roar the other day, when I wrote Perry, “doesn’t look half bad in an evening gown”. However this was a line designed to emphasise the fact she is a PR dream for any team she is a part of – not only is she so talented that she she represents her country in two sports, she’s also a very attractive young woman.
However the PR dream doesn’t work if she’s not actually any good. Steph Rice got plenty of publicity for her golden smile but the gold medals complementing it got her a million dollar TV deal.
Meanwhile Lauryn Eagle is supposed to be competing for a world title in boxing in July. So what was her latest piece of publicity? A story about her suffering an eating disorder following the death of her father.
Eagle started boxing five minutes ago and has a record of two wins, two losses and a draw. She struggles for publicity for her boxing talent because it would seem she has none. But, as a former beauty queen, she can talk eating disorders. Hey, if it gets her in the paper, good luck to her.
Plenty of people have made mention of Perry’s looks when making comment on her current plight and there has been a level of backlash from other commenters.
But let’s be honest – many women are fans of AFL over rugby league for the simple reason the blokes wear shorter shorts and guernseys which show off their arms.
There’s nothing wrong with noticing Ellyse Perry is good looking. And if it helps her make some money to supplement the meagre pay she receives for actually playing the sports, she should milk it for all it’s worth.
But while her looks might get her a deal to promote clothes, shoes or beauty products, they’re not going to get her another W-League contract.
She’ll get that from her results and copious ability, not her image.