Friday, March 5, 2010

Inequality Faced by Female Olympians

by Bridget Kaminetsky, Colorado Organizer at 9to5

The Olympics is one of the rare times that the world watches female athletes on national t.v. And it only comes around every two years. I was glued to the t.v., along with billions of other people to see Yu-Na Kim skate on the ice and watch Lindsey Vonn ski down the slopes. These two women, among many other powerful athletes that attended the 2010 Olympics, showed just how strong and amazing women are in sports.

Despite the phenomenal accomplishments by female Olympians across the world, women are continuously degraded at the Olympics. Most often when women Olympians appear on the front page of major magazines, the images are sexualized. So it shouldn't be too surprising that we have all become very familiar with Lindsey Vonn's name and face after her appearance in Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. It's not just the images that degrades women; Women are referred to as "heartthrobs", "sexy", "flirty", etc. throughout the games and in the media that sexually harass them rather than accentuate their athletic attributes.

I also find it interesting what sports receive media coverage--we watch figure skating but female hockey does not get prime time coverage.
Did you know that 85% of female figure skaters suffer from eating disorders? (2010 Huffington Post Article) Figure skating is the most watched sport. We talk about how beautiful and sexy the skaters are. Let's face it, figure skaters are "so beautiful" and are getting mass amounts of media attention because they have starved themselves.

And don't forget that women are still not allowed to compete in all sports at the Olymics. Ski Jumping remains forbidden for women at the Winter Olympics Games. Not only does this ignore that there are women ski jumpers who are interested and competitive at this sport, denying athletes this opportunity goes against the principles of the Olympics that says discrimination based on gender should not be allowed. Visit this website to support women in this sport:

Remember to Celebrate Women's International Day March 8th!

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