Short, overweight women need not apply

The Olympics are more than eight months away, but already China is trying hard to get some negativeOlympics
publicity for it.            

Beijing is seeking women presenters for
medals ceremonies at the 2008 Olympics — but only those who
are tall and thin need apply.

Hundreds of young women will be recruited as volunteers to
present medals and raise flags at ceremonies for the Games,
which open on August 8, but they must meet stringent criteria. [Link]

Let me get this straight: You can’t be short, you can’t be overweight, and you can’t have any testosterone? Perhaps male volunteers are being used for other tasks, such as beating up all the protesters.

"We have some very clear conditions and demands," explained
Zhao Dongming, director of the Cultural Activities Department
at Beijing’s Organizing Committee for the Games.

"We have certain requirements for their height, since they
are to present the medals to our athletes. They need to be of a
height between 1.68 and 1.78 meters. That’s above average." [Link]

1.78 meters? That’s about 5-foot-10, tall enough to play center on the Indian basketball team.

There’s no height requirement for the athletes — some of those weightlifters are pretty short — so why should there be one for the volunteers?

There was no requirement on their weight, Zhao said, but he
added: "Generally speaking, they can’t be too fat. Their figure
should be good. They shouldn’t be too heavy."

The guidance was so the women, who must be between 18 and
25 and university students, would fit into the uniforms being
prepared for them, he said. [Link]

Ah, the uniforms. I knew there was a logical reason for this. It doesn’t matter what you weigh, as long as you can fit into a Size 2 dress.

You also have to be 18 to 25 and a university student? I’m really disappointed in the Organizing Committee. If they had tried harder, they could have discriminated even more. They could have required all the women to be English-speaking, light-skinned and well-endowed.

Come on, China, we expect more from you.

Photo by Marc van der Chijs

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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