Sunday, December 9, 2012

Where is the respect?

Maria Sharapova is known as one of the best tennis players in the world
In 2007 a list of the top international athletes was compiled.  On this list was only one woman: Maria Sharapova.  I was shocked to see just one woman on this list and it’s simply a shame that this is the case.

In my opinion, Maria Sharapova is the only woman on this list because American sports are ahead of the game.  America was, and still is, a leader when it comes to women’s rights and giving women the same opportunities as men.  Much of that is due to Title IX.  When you look around at the rest of the world, how many female athletes can you actually name?  How many different sports can you name with a big name international female athlete?

Many people may look at this list and wonder what is wrong with the world, but if you are a female, be happy you live in the United States.  Venus and Serena Williams, Candice Parker, Jenny Ritter, Jenny Finch, Lolo Jones, and Maya Moore are all considered top caliber athletes in this country and they serve as great role models for both boys and girls.
Maya Moore is a star in the WNBA
There’s another massive reason why only one woman is on the list of top international athletes: women tend to be judged in different ways by men; specifically, they are judged on their looks.  When I searched “top international female athletes” on Google, the first result that came up was “top 100 hottest international female athletes.”  This right here is very telling as to why there is only one woman in the top 20 of international athletes.  If you have a conversation with a group of men about female athletes, they are not going to talk about their great abilities or the unthinkable victories they achieved.  Most men are going to always bring the focus back to how a woman looks.  This was even evident in our classroom discussion.  Throughout the discussion about women’s media coverage, I constantly heard murmurs of how hot or not a female athlete was when she was brought up.
Unfortunately for women, this aspect of conversation I do not see changing anytime soon.  Men will be men, and looks are something most of them talk about.  A lot.  Hopefully some men will begin to understand when it is appropriate to speak about these topics, though. 

Over time, the amount of women in the top international athletes list will continue to grow, but it is not going to happen overnight.  The United States is leading the way in women's athletics and the exposure female athletes receive can only go up from here.

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