Updated: Jul 28, 2019
In part one, (read here) we unpacked a lot about how current society is both subconsciously & intentionally conveying information on women’s sports. In this installment we seek to give you the tools to be an advocate for your sisters, daughters, friends, coworkers, and other females who seek athletic endeavors.
We’re telling our children that how you look is more important than how you play.
Why is it that we want bulging, muscular men but paper thin women? Female athletes don’t normally look like our picture perfect models because they prioritize muscular endurance over flat stomachs. We should celebrate bodies that perform the way athletes want them to in whatever sport they participate in.
We’re telling them that being a female athlete is not as cool or valuable as being a male athlete.
Let’s look at the average attendance of NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) games vs. the MLS (Major League Soccer) games. NWSL games average less than 7,000 people per game (Jamie Goldberg - September 2018 - The Oregonian). MLS games average over 24,000 people per game despite the fact that the MLS is a second rate league with few top-rated players (Soccer Stadium Digest: Powered by Populous). On the other hand, the NWSL boasts world class talent in every squad, yet people rarely take the time to watch their games.
* To read more about Jamie Goldberg's writing on NWSL attendance read the article here *
* Read more about MLS stadium averages here *
We’re telling them that playing like a girl is a bad thing.
You get the point. There are many things that we do as a society that are divisive to women’s sports. Let's change the meaning of playing like a girl.
We can take small steps to shift these dynamics within our own homes. Practice these:
- Take your kids to see both men’s and women’s professional/college games
- NWSL: North Carolina Courage, Duke Athletics, UNC Athletics, NC State Athletics, etc.
- Use language that is supportive and not demeaning
- I.e. (She’s a good player, but not very attractive. She’s good for a girl.)
- Watch female sports as well as male sports on TV
- Encourage similar traits for women that you encourage in men’s sports
- I.e. (Strong, powerful, tenacious, creative, resilient, etc.)
- Support female athletes from the youth level
- I.e. Get involved from a young age and build continuity in the sport.
Encourage your kids to seek out male and female role models
- I.e. If your child plays basketball encourage them to watch both Sue Bird and Kevin Durant.
This is part two of a two part series in which we have unpacked the affect of women on modern sports. Our hope is to be a resource for parents, coaches, teachers, and fans alike, bringing attention to tough questions and topics surrounding sports. Inevitably, we will fall short of doing all topics justice or fall short in your expectation for us. If you have something constructive to say, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read part one click here
You Play Like a Girl (Part 2 of 2)
July 27, 2019
Writer: Jameson MacFarland-Hall
Editor: Katherine Meakem