Female athletes not just “hot chicks”
This is a line that is all too commonly heard in society today, and is apparent in amateur and professional sports as well.
In order to prove my theory that women in sports, particularly high profile female athletes, are continuously stereotyped in society today, I did what every good reporter, journalist, and researcher should make a priority.
I “Googled” it.
As I entered in “female sports stars” at www.google.ca and looked at the results, I was not surprised whatsoever.
The second site on the list had the title, “sexy female sports stars in action strutting their sweaty arses and bums.” Now this is not something I would not want my daughter to come across if she was searching for information on a female athlete that she considered to be a role model.
Next, I checked out the images section and came across several pages of photos. Two photos that were on the top line of the “female sports stars” search were of two women. Each was wearing revealing clothing, both were posing seductively, and one was holding her bare breasts with a pair of boxing gloves.
To top things off, the first actual athlete that was mentioned in this search was Anna Kournikova, a former tennis player that was always more concerned with the braids in her hair than actually performing well on the tennis court.
I have to mention that doing other searches, including “women athletes”, “women in sports”, among others did provide quality and appropriate search results regarding some of the top female athletes in the world, and information on top-notch organizations geared at promoting women in sports.
But the point still remains that females in sport today are not given the credit that they deserve nor are they treated with the same respect that male athletes are given.
Lindsay Davenport, the World Tennis Association's number one ranked player for the past two seasons hardly gets any press or media attention for her dominant play in the past two years, yet fellow tennis player Maria Sharapova will fill magazine covers and Internet sites with modelling pictures and images that basically have nothing to do with her sport.
One female athlete that is recognizable to the average fan is soccer star Mia Hamm. Her several Gatorade and Nike commercials showcase her soccer talents and her impressive athletic ability, not her physical attractiveness or modelling skills.
Known for her four consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association at the University of North Carolina, Hamm was also a part of the 1999 World Cup Champion United States team.
One might think the lead story for that victory would have been Hamm leading the team to the championship, but it wasn't. The lead story was about Brandi Chastain removing her jersey, and revealing her sports bra after scoring the final goal of the game.
As a reporter that covers female sports, I can do my part and treat stories on women objectively, and take angles on the stories that revolve around the actual sports and the athletes' abilities on the court or field, and not about their physical characteristics.
I only can hope that the rest of society can follow suit and not view women athletes as “hot chicks” but as the hard working, talented athletes that they are.