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I think you need to think about the individual in two ways rather than label
them as one athlete/model.
Judge them on how good they are as an athlete if that's what they claim they
are. Then on their popularity as a model. I think the average person with a
bit of common sense will be able to brake it down like this and decide why
that individual is marketing a product.
That is the key thing about social marketing, it's for the consumer to decide
if what is being advertised fits into their lifestyle and if they want to be a
part of it. We don't have to be exposed to it if we don't want to.
If you are looking at the modle side of it and a female is getting a lot of
attention due to her looks and athletic body, that can only be a plus. Good
looking female models are role models for a lot of people and if a model can
become popular due to there chosen sport surely that is a better than some
fake reality female model?
I think if a female athlete is really that good then there skill will shine
through before anything else. Let's be honest if you are not constantly in the
top 5 in a female DH World Cup race. You are going to struggle to get any
proper financial support even if you are just out of that top 5. I would
imagine the leval of sponsorship would be comparable to a male WC racer that
finishes in the 40/60's.
So if you are a female rider and can use abit of extra charm to do what you
love why not. Let's face it some people are just more popular than others.
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