Just yesterday I posted on the changing image of Natalie Gulbis. That post generated quite a bit of commentary on female golfers using their looks in marketing. Then today I came upon this interesting article about an ultra-elite female golfer and how her looks have affected the way she's perceived, and undoubtedly, her own self-image.
The article, an interview with LPGA Hall of Fame golfer Pak Se-ri, appeared in Korea's The Chosun Ilbo, a couple of weeks ago, just prior to the Samsung World Championship. The talented 29-year-old Korean revealed that when when she started to play in the LPGA a decade ago, people gossiped about her being ugly... and that now they say she looks prettier, and seem to speculate she's had work done "on her jaw, her nose, here and there". She admitted she had had eyelid surgery to correct an eye problem that interfered with her playing, but says that's the extent of it. She laughed off the speculation and said, "I try to remember that all the gossip just means that I've become prettier, and not get offended by it." then added, "And if I really tried to fix my face, I'd make me look much better than I do now!" That's a refreshing attitude, isn't it?
What all of this brings to light however, is that women golfers face an additional pressure, beyond that of playing golf at their highest possible level, and that is; how much attention should I give to my looks, when those looks are going to make such a significant difference in the amount of money I'm able to make in my career? Men face no such decision. There just isn't a high enough value placed and a man's looks to have them make a significant difference in his earning potential.
I agree with some of my readers though; if a man's physical appearance did have the same impact on his earnings as a woman's has on hers, there would be a lot of guys, at all different levels of golf, who would be shamelessly working that angle to the max.