Thursday, May 7, 2015

Muscles aren’t sexy

           Since Title IX was passed, women have made huge accomplishments in the sports industry. For instance, Pat Summit, University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, has the most winnings than any other coach in other sports; the first women’s Olympic boxing match at the London Games in 2012; and Billie Jean King won the “battle-of-the-sexes” tennis match in 1973. With all these accomplishments, women athletics are still not taken seriously. In order to gain respect female athletes are training harder and becoming stronger in order to succeed. This new strength is not being accepted in society because it challenges gender norms. Women are suppose to skinny, beautiful, and elegant, but this is not the case in sports. In order to keep this gender norm, sports are classified based on gender. Sports like football, ice hockey, and boxing are considered masculine and aggressive so they are for men. Sports like tennis, gymnastics, and figure skating are classified as female sports because they are more elegant and based on beauty. Women are not playing ice hockey, football, and even boxing. Women who are physical and masculine receive harsh treatment and criticized for not being womanly.  Due to this new challenge of gender roles, the media is criticizing them and even covering fewer women sporting events. Athletic women are facing the challenge of being successful at their craft and maintaining gender roles. Doing this is hard because in order to be successful at sports, one must train which increases muscle strength, which is not sexy. A former athlete that wants to remain anonymous states, “I remember being made fun of because I was strong and fit. I played on an AAU team so I was always working out and even lifted weights, but people thought it was weird for girls to life weights. There were even times people called me a lesbian simply for being athletic. It was hard being a varsity athlete and a girl at once” (personal interview, May 3, 2015).  This statement demonstrates how women are still not accepted in the sports industry. Women are excepted to be successful, but inferior in the masculine sports world.

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