When people think of sports, most people think of an aggressive male athlete striving to achieve a victory. You have the Michael Jordans, Lebron James, Michael Vicks, Tiger Woods, Christian Ronaldos and Matt Kemps.
Sure, there’s Serena and Venus Williams, Mia Hamm, Danica Patrick, Lisa Leslie, and Laila Ali. But, compared to the men, female athletes don’t receive the same recognition as their male counterparts.
How much of a difference is there between female athletes and male athletes? They both have their pre-game routines, they both practice at their sport, they both have aspirations to be the best, and they both have the mindset of being a winner in their respective sport. So is there really even a difference between the two?
Victoria Stewart, a point guard on the Palomar Comets basketball team, explained that the sports are “much the same. We all work hard. We play the same roles.”
When discussing how it feels to be a female athlete, Stewart noted “I’m pretty much used to it. I have been playing since I was 5 and it doesn’t feel any different to being a male.”
Stewart has aspirations to continue playing basketball on an university level, hoping to become a basketball coach in the future.
For others being female is an advantage.
“I’m prideful,” said Mikaela Shannon, center forward on the Comets basketball team, “because we show our (female) athleticism through our sports.”
Shannon added, “In high school, I did (notice differences between male and female athletes). High school advertised more of the men and not the women sport teams. College is more equal.”
Shannon said she is striving to gain a scholarship to go into a 4-year university as an athlete.
The Forbes 2014 list of highest paid athletes proved that the wage gap of the workforce also occurs in the field of sports as well. The Number 1 spot was Floyd Mayweather earning $105 million. Now go down the list and see the majority of top earners are male athletes.
Tennis star Maria Sharapova is the highest paid female athlete, came in at Number 34 earning about $24 million. Sharapova is also noted as being the top paid female athlete for a number of years.
“People don’t expect much out of us,” Stewart said.
We all know that there’s multiple leagues for women to play in, but how many people actually tune into these sports on television. The NBA has the WNBA as their female counterpart, but the amount of viewers for the WNBA is significantly less than the NBA.
American Football has a women’s league but it is not on the same level as the NFL. However, many people do turn in to watch the infamous Lingerie Bowl, where females are donned with shoulder pads, knee pads, elbow pads, and are wearing cute, revealing lingerie. These just magnifies the fact that the Lingerie Bowl was created to appeal to the sexual fantasies of men.
Yes, sports is usually a male-dominated industry. However, it should be noted that female athletes play the same roles, play the same game, and play to win with all their heart. Female athletes should get the same recognition as their male counterparts, without having to be based on the desires of men. Female athleticism has arrived, and it’s time for the ladies to shine in the spotlight, just like their male counterparts.
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