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​‘Hot girls’ invited for World Cup commentary on national TV spark harsh criticism from viewers

Thursday, June 21, 2018, 20:00 GMT+7
​‘Hot girls’ invited for World Cup commentary on national TV spark harsh criticism from viewers
Girls in revealing outfits appear on “Nong cung World Cup.” Photo: VTV

State-run Vietnam Television (VTV) is drawing heavy criticism for its decision to invite 32 scantily –clad females with little-to-no football knowledge to offer ‘commentary’ during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

VTV’s live broadcasts of the Russia 2018 matches are accompanied by a program called “Nong cung World Cup,” literally translated to “Getting hot with the World Cup,” overtly exploiting women to draw in viewers during the tournament.

The program features 32 women, mostly in revealing outfits, each assigned to offer commentary and support one of the 32 nations competing in Russia.

The girls also appear during the pre-, half time, and post-game shows alongside a VTV host and a professional footballer or celebrity with sports knowledge.

Many viewers, however, are not impressed. 

Confusion seems to be a common theme amongst audiences who can’t help but be confused by the bland and outdated commentary offered by women who appear to have no knowledge of the sport.

A viewer expresses his disagreement with revealing outfits of the 'female commentators' on his Facebook on June 15, 2018 in this screenshot taken by Tuoi Tre News.
A viewer expresses his disagreement with revealing outfits of the 'female commentators' on his Facebook on June 15, 2018 in this screenshot taken by Tuoi Tre News.

Bringing femininity to men's football

VTV’s idea to have more women offering football analysis seems great at first – after all, what’s wrong with adding a little femininity to men’s football? Sport is for everyone, isn't it?

And the girls do seem to offer an updated, though confusing, look at conventional sports commentating in Vietnam.

But once these guest-hosts speak, the appeal seems to drown in a sea of discomfort, ambiguity, and awkwardness prompted by apparent ignorance of the sport.

Girls in revealing outfits appear on “Nong cung World Cup.” Photo: Tuoi Tre
Girls in revealing outfits appear on “Nong cung World Cup.” Photo: VTV

“…back when I was in elementary, that is, in 2000-2002, the generation of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Pele,” the girl assigned to represent Brazil mused during her teams match against Sweden. 

Unfortunately, no one seems to have told her that Pele, known as “The King of Football” retired in 1977 – more than a decade before she was born.

"I like Messi, so I hope Barcelona wins the Cup," another ‘hot girl’ said during the Argentina – Iceland game. 

The one thing the girls do seem to be fully aware of is their opinions on each footballer’s appearance and personal life off the field.

The girl representing Germany innocently praised midfielder Toni Kroos as an ideal player…because he’s “handsome” and “very loyal.”

“He is among the top footballers of the world and won the Euro and World Cup,” the girl said during a live broadcast. Toni Kroos has never won any Euro tournament in a Germany jersey.

Girls in revealing outfits appear on “Nong cung World Cup.” Photo: Tuoi Tre
Girls in revealing outfits appear on “Nong cung World Cup.” Photo: VTV

Women are not commodities

As a result, criticism over “Getting hot with the World Cup” hit the Internet like a ton of bricks.

“I cannot understand why VTV invited these girls and their revealing clothing to comment on the World Cup,” Facebook user Hoang Tuan wrote in a post.

“Why doesn’t VTV invite female experts and male supporters?” said Tuan Son, an office worker in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District who described himself as a ‘not-frequent football fan' who still knows more about the sport than the VTV girls.

“What VTV is doing is nothing more than reinforcing stereotypes about women in sports,” Son criticized the program.

“The employment of these ‘hot girls’ to mindlessly babble on television made the commentary program bland and cheap," said H.T., a self-proclaimed football lover in Ho Chi Minh City.

A meme ridiculing a bland comment offered by a ‘hot girl’ during the Egypt-Uruguay match. Photo: Tuoi Tre News
This meme widely shared on Facebook shows a girl expressing her love for Egypt's Salah, before telling the VTV host that she actually 'hopes Uruguay will win,' and that she is in fact 'a fan of France'.

Many prestigious international sports channels such as ESPN or Fox Sports use women for their commentaries as well, although their women commentators are chosen for their knowledge of the sport, not for their looks.

In today’s world, objectifying women to draw an audience is a step-back for societal development.

If Vietnam wants to continue developing into a modern economy, it’s time to modernize the way it sees its women, some viewers say.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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