Where are all the women?

The catalyst for this blog was when I finished reading the sports section of The Guardian on 6 May 2009 and realized when I finished that I hadn’t read about any women.

This annoyed me; for the first time.  Even when there was a slight hoo-ha about the lack of coverage of the British women’s international cricket Ashes win, I just nodded my head and thought ‘that’s the way it is when you play a minority sport.’

As a former collegiate track and field athlete in the US, I am very aware of the lack of coverage, and thus sponsorship, any sports other than the big three (US football, baseball and basketball) get.

Sport can be an excellent metaphor for life, in too many ways to go into here; so why weren’t there any women featured in that day’s sports coverage?

I really enjoy the psychological aspects of sport, knowing who does what before, how to psych yourself up, how to psych your opponent(s) out, etc, the drama, the science (what to eat, when to eat, when to take supplements, exact times of warm-ups, etc), and I like reading about sport in general.  But now that I’ve been out of competition for several years, it suddenly hit me – I rarely read about sportswomen and the ins and outs of their sports.

Cricket may be fascinating to some, but so is track and field; not only do minority sports need more coverage, so do women in general.

I know all the arguments and they are all generally related to money in some way.  But if all sports editors, or even one or two, began to dedicate a section, EVERY DAY, to sportswomen, maybe, just maybe, the tide could begin to turn.

Another example (and now that I’m thinking of them, they are flooding in) is when Rebecca Adlington, the Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer, competed for the first time after the Olympics, hardly any coverage was given of the event; there was certainly no build-up to the event, so if anyone had wanted to attend, there was no way of finding out through mainstream media.

And the last example of this disappointing, and disparaging, lack of coverage of women’s sports is when I searched on News Now for ‘women’ and got a bunch of feeds to ‘women’s basketball, women’s tennis, etc.’

Obviously, if ‘women’ needs to be in front of the sport, it means that the norm is male and therefore women competing are extraordinary, rather than ordinary.

Doesn’t it make sense that if there were more opportunities for young girls to see sportswomen as role models, the horrific state of sexualized/body dysmorphic thinking could begin to be countered?

This entry started quite simply with my realization that for the first time, I was disappointed in not having any women sports figures to read about but quickly expanded when I began to articulate some of the many ideas that I’ve thought but never put down on paper.

One thought on “Where are all the women?”

  1. Your article raises many interesting points. A former collegiate myself, I hate to admit that though I’m still in pretty good shape the perils of looking like women who are put on covers of magazines (stick thin models, lightly tanned-skin brazilians, long wavy hair, hazel eyes) is something unattainable for me.

    Victorias secret does a great job at expanding the racial mixing pot with many of their models embracing their exotic looks, but when I go into the store and see full length size posters all it makes me want to do is leave and get a boob job…hehehe…

    I agree, female athletes inspire those of us who either once were, continue to be, or are dreaming of becoming competetive . They have muscles, and thick thighs, triceps and bumps and bruises and are beautifully imperfect. some are overweight considering standard norms, but yet are the best at what they do.

    I say three cheers for awe inspiring female athletes. Three cheers for the men that love them, and three cheers for those men and women that train like athletes!

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