The BBC news journalist and presenter knows only too well what it’s like to have her clothes commented upon, so as the LPGA issue a new dress code policy, here’s what Naga thinks.
We all like to be able to express ourselves as individuals and one of the easiest ways is through what we wear. I do think that school uniforms are a good idea and I also like the idea of a dress code at work in terms of being smart and looking professional.
The problem with dress codes is that they are often subjective and we will always try to be individuals. I remember folding the waistband of my school skirt over to shorten it - adaptation is inevitable. There were always limits though, decided upon by teachers and, as we get older, by our peers and own good judgement.
Every day that I appear on television, what I wear is commented upon. I try to appreciate the compliments and ignore the criticism. However, when someone says I look ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ in my workwear I don’t swell up with pride - I’m annoyed. What I wear is not supposed to distract the viewer from the news that I’m delivering. I genuinely would prefer the comments I receive to be about my journalism.
This is the conundrum I see with the game of golf. We need to look good. We want to look good. We need to show the world that our beloved sport is not old-fashioned or boring, but is athletic and highly skilled. Does that mean that we need to be ‘sexy’ in order to sell it? Is it necessary for our sexuality to sell a sport which is founded in integrity? Who gets to judge when clothing bends the rules a step too far?
The LPGA’s latest rules on clothing include: Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over.
I understand that being told not to wear clothes which allow your ‘bottom area’ to be seen, may seem like women are treated like schoolgirls or are even ‘slut-shaming,’ but which grown-ups think that it’s appropriate to wear clothes that reveal your buttocks or breasts while you’re playing golf?
When was the last time you saw Adam Scott or Rickie Fowler photographed leaning sexily over their driver, or straddled across a pot bunker with a seven-iron held aloft, accentuating their lovely trim waists and sculpted chests?
What happened to pushing brilliant, strong, female athletes into the limelight? Do we want to be known for how we look, and then for how we play? Well that’s the danger posed if our idols on the Tour decide that wearing clothes which break some, let’s be fair, pretty relaxed rules, are what’s needed to make women’s golf attractive.
I’d always want my professional skills to be discussed when being assessed, not my physical assets. I’d hope that golf pros want the same. Let the golf do the talking, rather than the conversations be about what women look like. I had hoped we were past that in 2017.
The above is an extract from the latest issue of Women & Golf magazine, on sale Friday 18 August. Never miss an issue click here to subscribe and enjoy W&G delivered to your door.