The same day, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones sustained a hamstring injury in the NFL combine. The article, written by ESPN, never once mentioned Jones’s dating history or what he was wearing. It simply stated the facts of his injury and included his athletic history statistics. So on the exact same day, two injuries were reported on. But only one was stated for what it was, an injury, sans dating life and modeling. And that one was about a man.
While women have made great strides in sports, the fact remains that they still are not treated as equal to men. Sports with male involvement are more widely shown on TV, especially during prime time hours.
Women make up to 40% of sport and physical activity participants, yet are only given 6-8% of media coverage; and as was the case with Vonn, oftentimes the coverage they do get is redirected towards their life outside of athletics rather than focusing on them as a competitor. In most of the articles written about women athletes, they are supposed to be seen as feminine. If they pose for a magazine cover or just for a picture, they are supposed to seem extremely feminine. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, men are not asked to be anything other than athletes when they portrayed by the media. In contrast, articles on women often focus on life outside of sports. If the woman is a mother, it is about her life as a mother. If she is engaged, it is about the wedding. The sports media simply cannot keep their focus on how the women they cover are strong athletes.
In a world where women are supposed to be on the rise in many professions, the media seems to constantly be forcing women back down from the heights they are trying to reach, especially in athletics. Female athletes should be portrayed the same as their male counterparts; as strong, athletic individuals playing the sport they have a passion for, not simply as a wife, or a mother. While those are great things to be, what female athletes accomplish in competition is really the only story the sports media should tell. In other words, the sports media should learn to see women athletes the same way they have always seen the men.
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