Mac Engel

It pays to be good, but pay is still better if you’re hot

Serena Williams has won 21 Grand Slam titles to Maria Sharapova’s five, but the Russian beauty earns more money.
Serena Williams has won 21 Grand Slam titles to Maria Sharapova’s five, but the Russian beauty earns more money. TNS

As Serena Williams received praise for her considerable achievements on the field, another female athlete, someone named Paige Spiranac, received just as much affection for her “ability” off the field.

This played out over the weekend as Williams was called the best female athlete of her generation, while Spiranac blew up as the hottest athlete on the Internet.

You know Serena as the baddest woman on the planet, and you’ll never forget her.

Spiranac is a former women’s golfer at San Diego State discovered last weekend by the Internet with any number of revealing shots of her wearing tight clothes while golfing. She’s hot. She knows it. You don’t know who she is, and she will be forgotten by Wednesday.

In an effort to find some lesson from this weekend’s events to pass on to my own daughter, there exists an undeniable truth from Serena and Spiranac: It pays to be good, but the pay is still better if you’re hot.

Girls, if you can stomach the fight, choose good over hot. Good lasts while hot cools.

There are more fans of Kim Kardashian and her sisters than Serena Williams and her sister, Venus. You tell me which ones should be the role models.

Over the past few weeks sports has seen more reminders that for all of its flaws and stupidity, Title IX has worked for multiple generations of little girls who wanted to play ball, too. Despite those advances, the altar of hot still trumps all other measures; for girls it still pays more to pay more attention to looks than their game.

This idea that “Women have made it!” in sports and are judged the same as their male counterparts is an offensive farce; how women look in their uniforms still matters as much as what they can do in them.

Modern society has always worshipped good looks, and today those services run 24/7 from a variety of “Church of Hot” leaders. Men are still pigs and we still mostly call the shots and watch the games when it comes to sports.

Serena may be a hot-headed diva, but in her craft there is nobody better. The Serena forehand after her first serve is as intimidating as any play in sports. Her power tilts the court at her opponent and creates a visual uphill advantage that is more daunting than any individual matchup today. Her opponents look helpless against her. She is embarrassing the rest of tennis.

This should have more value than Serena’s ability to look good in a dress. We continually tell our daughters, sisters and nieces that it does, but we know the truth.

Men and women talk a good game about wanting equal this and equal that, but the latest society eyeball test says our girls need to be hot, fun, thin and nice.

There is no reason that Maria Sharapova has out-earned Serena Williams by roughly $5 million over the past year other than the fact she’s “pretty” and can rock a pair of yoga pants and skinny jeans.

Sharapova has five career Grand Slam titles compared with 21 for Williams, who is 18-2 in head-to-head matchups against the Super Russian. Serena’s biggest “problem” is that she is “not hot,” or at least her version defies the traditional description.

Only in women’s sports does the best not earn the most.

Watching the U.S. women’s soccer team win the World Cup offered more of the same; you don’t have to look too far see the double standards of sexism continually smacking us in the face.

Start with women’s soccer teammates Hope Solo and Alex Morgan.

There is Solo, who has multiple charges of domestic violence against her, and nobody cares. Alex Morgan is not the best player on the team, yet easily the most popular because she is pretty.

For as much as we may applaud Serena, the U.S. women’s soccer team, and champion the movement of the female athlete, women are still judged on how they look, too. That’s where we still are stuck.

To be fair, a lot of women sign up for this judgment and enjoy it. The power of that immediate validation, fawning and adulation is immense.

Being attractive is a skill, for a man or a woman, and it does require work, dieting, exercise, and a tremendous amount of will power.

It is not, however, forever. Age is cruel. Gravity wins. Surgery is temporary. There is always somebody younger, hotter and with a better body.

Appearance is easily lost, expendable, and quickly forgotten. The Internet has reduced 15 minutes of fame to 15 seconds.

Because beauty will always have its place, the Paige Spiranacs will have their 15 seconds, and sometimes that will make you sick, but in the end Serena always knows that talent wins.

Hot is temporary.

Good is forever.

And Serena is the best.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram