How Skirt Length Affects Salary
Too Long or Too Hot?
How female tennis skirts got shorter and the paychecks bigger.
Women's tennis apparel has come a long way since the Victorian styled outfits which were the standard uniform many years ago. Actually is hard even to compare what the female athletes wore back then with the leg revealing skirts of today. But one other thing has also changed significantly – the income.
So how do these things relate? One correlation is hard to dismiss: As skirts became shorter the figures on the money prices and sponsorship checks became longer.
Let’s Look at the Facts
First we have the rather conservative Victorian dress which is not likely to raise an eyebrow in modern days. In the dawn of the sport, rebels like May Sutton tried to be a bit more sportive by wearing a man’s shirt with sleeves rolled back thus revealing the sexiest part of the body at that time: the wrists.
Maybe it was pretty Lady Gaga-ish back in 1905, but since prize money was not introduced at that time she was not rewarded for showing off her mad attracting forearm.
A Small Step for Man…
But a giant step for women's tennis marks the second chapter in the brief history of professional female tennis. In the 70’ies Billie Jean King was the first mover in women’s tennis and fought hard and long for equal rights in the sport. She did so wearing a somewhat shorter dress than her unpaid long skirted sisters had done in the past. And the result? Women began making money.
However, when King and her female tennis rat pack formed the the Virginia Slims Circuit the total prize money for the first year was a modest $309,100. Today that figure might not seem too impressive and probably equal what the Williams sisters make from selling Williams-sister-dolls. A boxed set of Serena and Venus Williams dolls, from 2000, sells for about $179.99.
Modern Times and the Cat Suit
Looking at the trend the top earners of the sport continually push the borders of how much money to make from playing tennis - Serena Williams being the clearest example. Compared to the groundbreaking $309,100 hard hitting female players from the 70-ties could earn.
Wheter or not you feel as offended by the outfit like the readers at Huffington Post there is good reason to acknowledge how the William business is run. Looking at how the sisters rank among the top earning female athletes you have to pay respect to the fact that they keep getting attention from the media.
One of the latest controversies included a laced outfit which gave considerable awareness to Venus just months before her new book came out. And it was mentioned more than once how she was co designing her own clothing line.
- In 1971, King became the first female athlete to surpass $100,000 in earnings for a single year
- Chris Evert became the first female athlete to win over $1,000,000 in career earnings in 1976
- Martina Navratilova became the first to win over $1,000,000 in a single year in 1982
- Justine Henin, who won the French Open in 2007, was the first to earn over $5 million
- In 2009, Serena Williams passed the record of over $6.5 million in a single year.