The seventeen year old volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova has gained a lot of attention from the internet recently. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with her sporting skills and is instead centered on the fact that she’s attractive. Now, I understand why people are talking about this, because she is pretty and no-one can deny that.
However, her newly found fame has been a detriment to her career. The attention that she’s been receiving has caused problems with other players and she has been dubbed a distraction to the game. Her coach (Nurlan Sadikov) has stated that:
“It’s impossible to work like this. The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.”
Sabina herself has stated that:
“I was flattered at first but it’s all getting a little bit much. I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else.”
This is a prime example of how people can become obsessive with looks to the point where it becomes their defining characteristic and a detriment to what they are actually attempting to achieve.
A similar thing happened to Crimea’s attorney general Natalia Poklonskaya. In March this year, Poklonskaya faced an increasingly violent standoff between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the peninsula and a political mess. During a press conference she suddenly gained notoriety as a picture of her went viral because of how attractive she was.
A number of fan-art has been created based on this image, some of them pretty sexual. I have no problem when people do this with fictional characters but drawing a real person in that situation is downright creepy and pretty degrading. This woman has worked hard to be in a position of power and that is what she should be recognised for, not her pretty face.
Here’s an interview with Natalia in which she learns of her ‘sex-symbol’ status where she is clearly uncomfortable with the admiration and plainly states that she wants to be known for her achievements, not her looks.
In both of these cases, the internet has fuelled a platform where people can place far too much emphasis on the looks of these women. This admiration can be damaging to the women’s reputation and sometimes have lasting implications on their career.
Let me know what you think. Has the internet gone too far? Leave your thoughts in the comments below