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  • There is a Little, But not Enough

    We are constantly hearing about football, baseball, and basketball. These may be well loved sports that men play, but women play the same things. The only time that women of sports are in the media is when there is a controversy or if the women playing are "hot" (female football leagues). Only then do we hear that they are in Playboy or modeling, or cheating on their husbands. There may be some positive media, but it is usually geared towards men. That is all and well, but can't we have some positive feedback about their game and how well they played it?

  • No, women's sport recieves more coverage than in the past

    In general, the media coverage of women's sports has increased in relationship to in the past. There is more attention given to women's sports on major networks, such as ESPN, thereby increasing the exposure of women's sports across the United States, the world's foremost sporting country. In the past there was hardly any attention given to women within sports, but as of late coverage has increased drastically.


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ThatWhiteGuy says2015-12-10T20:43:32.417
We need feminists to get behind the movement of gender inequality in sports. A claim that often comes up on this issue is, if more people had an interest in women’s sports, they would get more sponsors and media coverage. Men’s sports will, of course, seem more exciting when there is a higher production coverage and value, when there is more broadcaster’s analyzing the game and when there are more cameras with all kinds of different angles (Mertens). I feel as if feminists and feminist websites do not talk about the issue of gender in sports enough. These women really are the forgotten ones and face similar issues to women who are not in sports.
So where did this idea of gender inequality in sports first appear? It starts in youth sports. My book, It’s All for the Kids by Michael Messner went in-depth on some of these issues. After conducting multiple interviews with coaches, Michael concluded four points as to why coaches he interviewed said youth sports should be sex-segregated. First, most coaches believe it is necessary due to the natural differences between boys and girls (Messner, 152). The second, rather that speaking of equality for women and male coaches, they need a mix of both because it would benefit the kids by getting the assumed different traits women and men bring to coaching (Messner, 152). The third, how sports participation can move girls away from the assumed softer and cooperative side and more towards the competitive and harder side which will benefit them (Messner, 152). The fourth is that boys are naturally more athletic and aggressive and are vulnerable to feminization, which can lead to homosexuality if not hardened by the leadership of men (Messner, 153).
That brings me to my next point “the tough-guise”(Legassic) or the “hardening of boys”(Messner, 167) as my author put it. The issue that boys need to be coached by men and hardened so they do not become feminized. There is this ideology out there that says, “when boys get older, they’re more influenced by males […] ‘It has to do with male dominance, that low voice, you know, they respond better to a male’”(Caldwell quoted in Messner, 165). If we would teach our boys that a woman coach is just as equal and qualified as a male coach we would not have this ideology when they grow up. In the book, it says that father’s were mostly approving of a coach hardening their boys. The idea that the hardening of boys teaches you to convert the feelings of pain and sadness into more “appropriate masculinities” because it is a part of growing up (Messner, 167). I find it sad that our society emphasizes so much on changing boys so that they fit in with the stereotypical male.
An example is the softball vs. Baseball debate that was brought up in my book and it really exemplifies the problem of sex-segregation in youth sports. A coach named Kathi Ralston questioned why softball is even around and went as far as calling it a “sexist sport”(Messner,154). She has a point because, in the U.S, girls who are 8 years old can no longer continue playing baseball and are forced into playing softball. “Why can’t boys play softball? Softball was just invented as a dumbed-down version of baseball”(Ralston quoted in Messner, 154). I feel coaches generalize that girls cannot play at the level of boys, so they should go into softball. That’s wrong and unfair to the girls who can play at the boys’ level. Why should they pay for the rest of the girls who cannot make the cut? The point is, that we should not separate them because they are different and born different. We should have a system that any individual can do whatever they want no matter their gender.
There are certain gender norms in sports that surprisingly, are rarely addressed by feminists. In sports, it is often thought that men are naturally more athletic, aggressive and driven by testosterone while girls are more caring and cooperative. Other issues include that there is a large pay inequality between men and women in sports and that it is frowned upon for young girls to play sports because being a tomboy is socially unacceptable just to name a few. These are all issues that feminists are not talking enough about. In fact, in Mertens’ article she says, “When this explicitly feminist issue arose, it went unmentioned on websites such as Jezebel, Every day Feminism, and The Feminist Wire”(Mertens). There are serious gender issues in sports and until the population and feminists alike start talking about it, these problems will still be around.

It is sad that only 19% of women in Canada participate in sports compared to 35% of men (CAAWS). It is sad that only 1/10 high school girls enroll in optional physical activity programs (CAAWS). Feminists need to focus on sports too. The issues of pay inequality, sexual violence and lack of women’s leadership are in sports and not many people are talking about it. As Jessica Valenti said, “If feminism wasn't powerful, if feminism wasn't influential, people wouldn't spend so much time putting it down”(Valenti). So let’s talk about the issues of gender in sports, so that one day our daughters can grow up in a world that treats them fairly and with equity.