The Tokyo Olympics Is Plagued by Archaic Sexists

Illustration for article titled The Tokyo Olympics Is Plagued by Archaic Sexists
Image: Eugene Hoshiko (AP)

The Tokyo Olympics, which may or may not be taking place in 2021 depending on who you ask, is once again being threatened by members of its own organizing team. Last month, it was Tokyo Olympics Chief Yoshiro Mor, explaining to a room of reporters that women talk too much and should be quieter if they want to participate in planning meetings for a doomed Olympics.

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This month the men are upping the ante. Hiroshi Sasaki, who was hired to organize the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, made a poorly thought-out suggestion that a Japanese celebrity, Naomi Watanabe, be lowered into the stadium dressed as a pig, in a segment Sasaki lazily titled, “Olympig.” The Guardian reports he has since stepped down from the position.

Watanabe is a comedian, actor, and fashion designer who has previously come under fire for criticizing the expectation that women should be rail thin in order to be successful in the film or fashion world. Watanabe also happens to be plus-sized and the idea of hoisting a woman in a pig costume and lowering her into a stadium for a cheap laugh is not only sexist and fatphobic, it’s uninspired.

The opening and closing ceremonies of any Olympics are always a spectacle on the grandest stage used to not just unify nations but to show the world that the hosting nation is hot shit. The 2012 London Olympics reunited the Spice Girls. The 2008 Beijing Olympics put together 2008 drummers and choreographed them so they moved as a single drumming body.

These are defining events in sporting history; Hiroshi Sasaki wanted to add to this legacy by dressing a single person in a pig costume and calling that a segment. This isn’t the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show, this is the Olympics sir, have some respect.

DISCUSSION

Japanese culture is plum-full of archaic sexism.