Posts Tagged ‘women’

Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history.

I was sad to read on Sporty Sistas that Beachley has felt the unending pressures of body image that her career has placed upon her.

This is big news since this is someone whose ego should be boosted – she’s won the World Championship seven times in her career.

She became a professional surfer at the age of 16 and was ranked sixth in the world by the time she was 20.

But in the 1990’s, she suffered from two instances of “chronic fatigue,” which threatened to end her surfing career.

It turns out that the “chronic fatigue” story had a little more behind it.

According to Sporty Sistas, Beachle recently released Beneath the Waves – a chronicle of how she got liposuction on her tummy at the very young age of 24.

Here’s what Sporty Sistas had to say about this,

“It’s comforting to know she has body insecurities just like 99% of girls out there, but on the flip side Layne makes a really disturbing observation that a women’s sporting career can only truly flourish if they are beautiful.”

Personally, I don’t find that comforting at all. It’s so (incredibly) wrong when the best surfer in the world thinks she’s fat and she’s pressured to win AND look perfect.

I have no doubt that this is the result of the way women surfers are objectified in the media (much like many female athletes are).

Beachle was quoted in an article titled, Winners, if they only look good as well, where she said,

“If you don’t fit that image then you’re not worthy of support … It’s a really unreasonable ethic to have,” she says.

I totally agree with the Sporty Sistas when they say,

“admiration is not only about their sporting success, but also heavily due to their sex appeal.” and “sexiness is the defining attribute that determines how big these endorsement can get. And with endorsements comes the ability to drum up support, and thus promote a longer and more recognised career.”

They have valid point here, and they certainly drove it home.

Sexiness sells. That’s what the media is interested in. And anything (or anyone) that “sells” has a better chance of getting endorsed.

And sometimes, unfortunately for women, in order to be a successful, endorsed athlete, you need to be perfect on the field, in life, and in the mirror.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves – when it comes to the health of these athletes, where can we draw the line?


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I read something interesting today on a popular male sports blog, With Leather.

This news certainly caught my attention, but this blogger’s opinion left me a bit less than thrilled. (Check out the picture to the right for example A)

According to the Wall Street Journal, because fewer and fewer men are going hunting, the sport has started to target women.

Apparently, they’re trying everything from “pink guns to gender-specific hunting courses.” Also, they’re looking for hunting spokeswomen, creating specially-tailored weapons, such as lighter crossbows and apparel makers such as SHE Safari and Foxy Huntress LLC are marketing camouflage expressly to women.

With Leather mentioned that womenhunters.com offers support.

Now, of course, since With Leather is so deeply involved in casting opinion on some of the world’s greatest athletes, you’d expect him to make an intelligent comment from all of this, right?

Wrong. Think again.

Here’s what With Leather had to say:

“First of all, do NOT waste your time at WomenHunters.com.  I went there expecting tips on hunting women, and it left a lot to be desired.  Why can’t I get a little support here?  I’ve been targeting women for years, and the Wall Street Journal hasn’t written dick about me.  I can’t even get a license.  Apparently hunting women is only legal in Ohio and Texas.”

Ah, how refreshed and inspired I feel from reading that.

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I read an interesting article this morning on the Wall Street Journal’s Law page about the Women’s Sports Foundation’s report on gender, money and sports.

This WSJ article provides two unique perspectives: one from Title IX’s biggest opposer, the College Sports Council,  and one from an unbiased researcher.

The major finding of the WSF report was that women continue to be significantly underrepresented among college athletes.

CSC is completely against Title IX and accuses the WSF report of being flawed, claiming Title IX cuts men’s sports. Fact is, they’re wrong. They can’t deny the fact that men have more opportunities than women athletically.

Judging by yesterday’s comment on my blog post, I’d say CSC is likely paying people to non-transparently go onto blogs and post opinions about this. BAD MOVE, CSC.

John Cheslock, a researcher from the University of Arizona, couldn’t have said it any better,

“The CSC took NCAA figures and made a simplistic adjustment,” Mr. Cheslock said. “They really should be called into question for that.”

I can’t agree more.

Eric Pearson, chairman of the CSC, I think it’s time for you to SIT DOWN.

Oh, and just so you know, paying people to go on blogs and comment in your favor is not ethical.

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The Women’s Sports Foundation came out with an incredibly interesting report yesterday, which could be the most accurate description of college sports’ participation patterns to date.

The report even made The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, indicating its overall importance to society.

While more women are participating in recent years than ever, the report, entitled Who’s Playing College Sports, discusses issues such as money, race and gender which influence athletic participation.

What did they look at?
Well, they took a 10-year NCAA sample containing 738 NCAA colleges and universities is examined over the 1995-96 to 2004-05 period.

What did they find?

(Executive Summary) “The results demonstrate that women continue to be significantly underrepresented among college athletes. At the average higher education institution, the female share of undergraduates is 55.8% while the female share of athletes is 41.7%. Women did enjoy a substantial increase in participation opportunities in the late 1990s, but this progress slowed considerably in the early 2000s. In fact, the increase in women’s participation levels was roughly equal to the increase in men’s participation levels between 2001-02 and 2004-05.”

Major findings:

1) Women’s athletic participation levels substantially increased during the late 1990s, but this growth slowed considerably in the early 2000s.
2) Women’s participation still lags far behind men’s participation levels.
3) Men’s overall athletic participation levels increased over time.
4) While a few men’s sports suffered substantial declines, a larger number of men’s sports enjoyed increases that far outnumbered those losses.
5) The only subset of higher education institutions that experienced declines in men’s participation levels was NCAA Division I-A schools, the institutions that spend the most on intercollegiate athletics.

Other highlights

Some other important findings (from the Press Release on Market Watch)

The report also disclosed an important rapid increase in spending — 7% per year after inflation on athletic programs like football and basketball — as restricting other athletic opportunities.

Influential factors on college participation in sport include:

– Changes in high school sports participation;
– Rising health care costs;
– Increased numbers of international students;
– The rise of enrollment management strategies;
– The implication of these participation trends on college sports’ diversity.

Another unfortunate finding – in recent years — more women, less diversity (due to offering traditional sports like football, volleyball and basketball and emerging sports like equestrian and synchronized swimming.

To improve diversity, the report recommends that schools take steps to increase the number of athletes of color playing less diverse sports.

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This morning, I read on Marie Hardin’s Sports, Media and Society blog that sports writer Mary Garber died over the weekend at the age of 92.

As far as can be determined, she was the first full-time woman sportswriter at a daily newspaper in the country, and she certainly had the longest career.

Mary Garber is  well-known for saying that her idea of heaven would be “football season.”

Her story should we well-remembered. Her name appears all over the country, including the National Sportscasters and Sportwriters Hall of Fame.

Her footsteps will certainly be followed upon, and her love for sport will never die.

Check out this story on the Winston-Salem Journal.

Just as a side note, what’s sad to me is that this story barely made headlines. If it were the first male sportswriter, it’d be plastered across televisions everywhere.

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The Women’s Professional Soccer league (WPS) held its allocation ceremony yesterday, announcing that 21 U.S. National Team players (the best women in the country) will be distributed among seven teams in the league, scheduled to debut in April.

This is great news, and I’m excited for this league to draw some much-needed attention. In fact, WPS already has garnered some interest online.

The Big Lead, ranked on of the top sports blogs online (JuicedSportsblog ranked them worth $1,833,380) posted yesterday about how the American soccer community is giving women’s professional soccer another try.

Although this post is a big misogynistic at first (reflecting the overall tone toward women on top sports blogs)…

“Writing for a lad-maggy blog, I should probably make a Sepp Blatter-style comment about tighter uniforms or include a snarky marketing slogan like “WPS, like the WNBA but attractive.””

He then concludes by actually giving credit to the women who play hard.

“But, seriously, I wish the U.S. women well.  They display more testicular fortitude than the Mens’ team ever has.”

I guess we should say thanks?

Just a side note – to get an idea of the type of fans these blogs have take a look at the comments, which reflect their attitude toward women.

Warning: do not comment on The Big Lead’s blog post. These type of blogs get paid based upon how many comments they recieve. Often, writing about women’s sports online causes a lot of misogynistic comments to come out of the woodwork. I guess these guys really don’t have anything better to do.

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Check this out – found it on Women Like Sports blog.

As part of its Pan-European ‘Here I am’ campaign, in which Nike strives to inspire a new generation of women to experience the impact of sports on life, Nike is launching a series of animated films featuring five young female European athletes. Each film shows the unique athlete’s journey towards mental strength gained through sports. As of today, the animated films will be viewable online at nikewomen.com.

A little bit unusual (especially the music) but the ending is pretty cool. I feel like they definitely could have done it a little bit better. I just couldn’t help thinking how weird it was.

Interested in hearing comments about this new effort by Nike.

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