Badminton Orders Women to Wear Skirts
Sport is desperate to boost TV ratings
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2011 2:27 PM CDT
Japan's Eriko Hirose hits a shot during a match in March.   (AP Photo/Simon Dawson)
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(Newser) – Women across the professional badminton community are outraged over a decree that female players must wear a skirt or dress to play. The Badminton World Federation wants to create a more "attractive presentation"—which critics interpret to mean it wants women to look sexier to boost a waning fan base, lukewarm sponsors, and lousy TV ratings. Many prefer pants or tracksuits, explains the New York Times. Players say the rule is sexist, not to mention offensive to Muslim players, and will be a hindrance to competitors.

“It doesn’t matter what Kobe Bryant wears,” says Mesinee Mangkalakiri, who competed for the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “People like his skills on the court. You’d hope they come to watch you because you are their favorite player and you have ability and style, not because you’re wearing someone’s favorite skirt.” The rule is supposed to go into effect next week, but critics hope to get it scrapped this weekend at a meeting in China.