Pornified? ‘The Honey Shot’ Was Intentional

It’s not your imagination. And it didn’t happen by accident.

You have noticed the increasing sexualization of sports. It’s live at the ballpark, on television, in magazines, and on the web.

The web sites for FoxSports, Sports Illustrated and even many smaller organizations have plenty of pictures of “babes.” There are now many sites pushing the envelope with the way they connect sex and sports.

At the ballpark or the stadium, the cheerleaders’ outfits are more revealing and the so-called “gentleman’s clubs” have limos waiting to take you to a special post-game event. They often also have women in person at the games meeting and greeting potential customers. Sports radio stations run ads for strip clubs on air in the middle of the day. They do live broadcasts from remote locations and interview porn stars at poolside.

The cheerleaders for many  NFL teams have been producing lingerie calendars for years, and even non-major sports such as indoor soccer teams have “dance squads” that clearly seek to emulate the NFL model.

On television, there are always plenty of camera shots of good looking women — usually, with a sexy aspect to the shot, such as a tight shirt and/or some cleavage showing.

During NFL games you get close-ups of cheerleaders. At the World Cup, you can always count on numerous shots of female fans — the most consistent being the female fans of Brazil’s national team who normally wear bikinis.  Sometimes those bikinis even fit.

But it’s not just the fans and the cheerleaders.  NFL sideline reporters are nearly always women.  The Golf Channel and have even gotten in on the trend. recently ran a feature on its site called the Most Beautiful Women in Golf.

A few of the women featured were actually golfers. The rest of the women were personalities who appear on various shows on the Golf Channel and other broadcasts. Even so, the pictures which appear in those pictorials are not actually related to golf.

It’s not your imagination. And it didn’t happen by accident.

Many of us are so accustomed to it that by now it seems passé. Why even mention it?

It’s worth a mention for two reasons.

First, the fact that these things exist — and exist in abundance — indicates how sexualized we have become. Our attitudes also tell us a good deal about how acculturated we have become to sexual images. Close-up shots of women’s cleavage used to be considered inappropriate. Now those shots are considered necessary.

Second, the simple truth that we haven’t gotten to this point by accident is worth discussion. So many times when anyone tries to talk about the pornification of society, detractors will claim that things today are no different than in years past. They also contend that there is nothing to the claim that the trend toward pornification has been driven in deliberate fashion.

But it has.

With specific regard to sports culture we can thank one man, Andy Sidaris.

Sidaris was the right-hand man to Roone Arledge at ABC Sports. Arledge was the man who invented Monday Night Football and introduced the world to the slow-motion instant replay. Replay is a staple of all sports broadcasts, no matter what the sport.

Sidaris’ contribution to sports broadcasting is something called, in his words, “The Honey Shot.”

Sidaris talked about The Honey Shot with great affection in an interview with Slate. The Brobible considers him “the most important man in sports TV.”

Sidaris, who died in 2007, had a whole philosophy behind The Honey Shot, and the sports broadcasting world has built upon that philosophy. Sidaris, who gladly referred to himself as a “dirty old man,” went on to produce multiple B-movies that featured Penthouse pets and Playboy playmates in various story lines that served only as a means to an end — plenty of sexual situations that could be captured on film.

Think of it as The Honey Shot 2.0. The Honey Shot will always lead to greater degrees of pornification. It did for Sidaris, and it will for us.

This is the man who has led the way for what we have now:  a seamless connection of sexuality and sports.

It’s not your imagination. And it didn’t happen by accident.

Is this all we are worth as men? We can’t have our sports without T&A?

This is what we are being sold.

The Honey Shot? We live in a state of the constant Honey Shot. We are saturated with images that are all versions of it.

That honey is bittersweet. Sure the women look good, but all that looking only leaves you  with a false idea of what it means to be a man. In the meantime, it conditions you to want more and more sexual images which will then trap you in a black hole of purposelessness.

So we need to be intentional. Just as Sidaris was intentional in creating The Honey Shot as a staple of sports telecasts, we must be intentional about pursuing something better.

It can be done, and it’s always worth it. You’ve longed for something more fulfilling.  You’ve imagined a life free from the pull of pornography and constant lust.

It’s time to move beyond simply imagining it, because it won’t happen by accident.





4 Responses to “Pornified? ‘The Honey Shot’ Was Intentional”

  1. Belinda

    Great article!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!! So true!!!

  2. Lauren

    This article was shared by one of my friends on facebook. It’s a great article and a great blog. However, the image attached to the article (it was on facebook, but it’s not showing up here on the actual blog) was an image of a woman’s silhouette with a handprint on the breast. When the image showed up on my newsfeed, my first thought was not, “Yay! here’s a blog for men fighting for purity!” It was more like, “here’s more exploitation of the female body to gain readership.” The image seemed to be used for the exact thing the article is denouncing.

    • james tarring cordrey

      Lauren, thanks for reading. And thanks for complimenting the blog. i appreciate your thoughts on the use of the specific image that accompanied the story. i was not attempting to exploit at all, and certainly not for the sake of gaining readership. That specific image, by illustrator Ruth Gwily, accompanied an opinion piece in the NY Times on March 3, 2011. i thought that the image communicated but did not exploit. Thanks again for reading.


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