Ignoring Women’s Sport
This week, Outside magazine published a great article looking into why society as a whole, for the most part ignores women’s sport. It focuses particularly on cycling and the problems women’s teams face getting sponsorship, but broadens the debate to look at the role of media, sex, femininity, race and consumer demand.
Some interesting quotes from the piece:
“Women are assessed much more critically on how they look,” says Douglas. “On the extent to which they are conventionally attractive. There is more commentary typically on their clothing and or their uniforms.
Even at the Olympics, commentators focus more on the physical appearance and personal lives of the women than on their athletic ability. Count how many times the commentators say “girls” and mention looks, clothing or children at the London Games. Compare that to men: when’s the last time an elite athlete was called a boy?
It’s not just semantics. Such language actually undermines the notion of women as athletes, and reduces interest in women’s sports. Feminizing language is rampant. Often, a race will be called a “lady’s tour,” or women are said to compete on the “lady’s circuit.” This genteel word packs a punch. Ladies pose no threat to men. Sure, women may be participating in sports, but they are totally feminine. No lesbians or tomboys to worry about.”
It also includes the staggering statistic that 96% of all television sports coverage focuses on men.
We’ve got a long way to go.
Anyway, it makes for a very interesting read. Check out the full article here.