Redefining What it means to be a woman
Pure and physical strength is the name of the game, a field fueled by brute force and barbaric culture nurtures the idea of male supremacy. Throughout the years, women have tolerated countless acts of discrimination, in and out of the athletic arena. As a result of their gender, standards towards women have diminished their ability to compete against male dominated sports. It is not until the passage of Title IX that “society became more accustomed to the idea of women participating and being an integral part of the sports scene” (Staurowsky, 31). The aftermath of Title IX offered new opportunities and hope for young athletes all across the country by making it illegal to exclude any one, on the basis of sex. Nonetheless, “the influence has been felt around the work place to the boardroom, to the locker room and while that effect has been transformative, not all girls and women have benefitted equally” (Staurowsky, 32). I have faith that a just world of sports can exist as long as we learn to change and treat women with the fairness they deserve. Therefore, I invite women to reshape the way they are perceive or view by men, renew the way sport media outlets represent women, and reconstruct an ideal system that offers equal leadership opportunities for everyone.
The growing culture in women’s athletics is changing the way girls see themselves, but it has not changed the way men view women. A few years back, a girl could not wish to have the opportunities that are offer in today’s world. Perhaps, the biggest factor playing into how men view women in sports today is “the social aspect, the audiences of sports, the people of our biased culture that is now hindering women who wish to be known as athletes and competitors” (Rosania, 2003). “Our culture is filled with deeply imbedded ideas about power and strength and competition being masculine qualities, and for women to want to embody these things is confusing and goes against our unconscious stereotypes” (Rosania, 2003). In contrast, women should have the right to be who they want to be because that is what they feel most comfortable with. Society shouldn’t have to dictate how strong, how fast or how beautiful one should be. Instead of being judge by social expectations, women deserve to be place in the same conversation as men. I believe that it starts since the day we are old enough to understand. Parents need to be responsible for teaching their son’s to treat all women equally and respect their abilities to compete. Being part of the solution is hard for many people, due to the old ideas that have left a deep scar in our society today, but I believe that if men improve the way they perceive women, then the sports media will follow.
Portrayal of women in sports has left an impression that paints the wrong picture to viewers. For years, men have seen themselves “represented in films, TV, magazines and video games, all which contribute to a culture that embraces their presence” (“Is ‘Pitch’ Young Viewers”, n.d.). Beneath the surface are young girls with aspirations to one day become professional athletes, but with little to no role models to represent them those dreams are forgotten along the way. On the same side, advertisement in television, now a day, has an agenda that only follows the interest of men, thus influencing boys to remain physically active like their favorite superstar. This holds true, when ESPN’s SportCenter decided to “devote a scant 2 percent of airtime to women’s sports”, during a 2014 survey performed by a USC study of TV news media. For this reason, less time dedicated to female media coverage results in fewer time girls and women spend in front of the television watching sports. To add, the unequal pay that female athletes receive compare to their male counter is extremely uneven. According to the new Yorker, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team sued the union representing them, following a world cup win, because the team earned a quarter less, despite outperforming the Men’s Soccer Team. Therefore, it is important to realize that media influences the common person’s ability to think about social issues. In other words, the power to create social change begins with media exposure to the problem, but in reality the people who can generate a greater difference are people running the show.
It is now or never, women are now CEO’s, principals, and government officials, however they have not been able to translate their leadership roles into the sports industry. Corporations most known for being biased towards hiring women are the MLB AND the NFL, for the 2014 season, it was recorded that only “17.3 percent of women made up the team’s vice president positions, compare to the NFL’s 9 percent of chief executive positions held by women” (staurowsky, 201). It seems that the baseball world and football field are not ready for women to run the show. Nonetheless, women have gained great momentum and are now displaying that they can run big corporations as well or better than men. To put this into perspective, Jeanne Jackson (CEO Advisor of Nike) has help Nike become the company they are today. Their projected sells for 2020 are to be about 50 billion and that’s not all, “industry watchers credit Jackson with helping streamline and modernize the company’s approach since her arrival in 2009” (Staff, 2016). In this Mrs. Jackson was able to break through the barriers that were set in front of her, but unlike her, many other women fall short of advancement in the sports industry. The reality that follows women in sport leadership roles are harsh, but the world is catching on and sooner than later, we will have more women in positions of power to influence sport business’s decision to hire more women.
As has been noted, the power to create social change is in the hands of public interest. The world needs to come together and restructure women’s expectations in order to build a society with equal rights for everyone. It is not enough to hope for change, people have to be change they want to see in order break the cycle. In other words, society needs to unify to challenge old beliefs about women, and redefining what it means to be a girl. Sooner or later, the media will abide by public transformation and stand for what is fair. Altogether, the gates will open for a new generation of female leaders to take over positions of power. And hopefully by then the world will be ready for change.
Good, A. (2015, June 5). When it comes to women in sports, TV news tunes out. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from https://news.usc.edu/82382/when-it-comes-to-women-in-sports-tv-news-tunes-out/
J. R. (2003). Women vs. Their Society. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/sports03/papers/jrosania.html
Staurowsky, E. J. (2016). Women and sport: continuing a journey of liberation and celebration. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Staff, A. (2016, June 26). Meet the 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/advertising-branding/meet-30-most-powerful-women-sports-172202
W Debate: Is 'Pitch' sending the right message to young viewers? (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://www.espn.com/espnw/news-commentary/debate/17619069/is-pitch-sending-right-message-young-viewers
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