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The question now is do we coddle our female athletes? Very simply, the answer is yes; but don’t take this as necessarily a bad thing- after all, all athletes are not created equal.
This notion that in order for females to be taken seriously in a particular sport means that we should treat them like we treat men is ridiculous. The idea of women’s sports is a relatively new idea and the acceptance of women in sports doing what we do as men is still in the ground stages, so it doesn’t make sense to react or overreact to individual games or failures.
This topic has been highly debated as of late due to the treatment of women’s soccer players upon their return state side. There has been a lot of criticism but those critiques have taken a backseat to the amount of fanfare they have received; in a sense, celebrating a second place finish. Yes it is entirely up to you if you want to approach it that way, but it is a mistake if you compare that to the reaction given to the men upon their return after numerous loses. Women’s soccer is winning in America which is the most important thing; that is what is being celebrated- not losing.
The criticism is legitimate in terms of the way in which they lost the game and there has been ample criticism about that; but we must celebrate what is being accomplished. Most importantly, we must remember the lack of interest that lies on the men’s side of things in terms of soccer in America; there is a lot more good will for the women’s soccer team while the patience is wearing thin for the men who have way more to prove at this point.
The women have won, the men haven’t…we must remember that.
As evident from media today, the sports world as a whole is dominated by men. With men setting the agenda, it only makes sense that the focus is placed on the physical aspect or the aesthetics involved in attracting viewers (men). It is nothing new that men love to watch beautiful women and the US team is loaded with beautiful women. Why should that not be discussed or why shouldn’t they be seen throughout the media networks doing interviews? In the long run, the sport will only benefit, not suffer.
There is nothing sexist about stating the facts and in this case, the facts are helping the bottom line of the sport as a whole.
As long as the skills of the players aren’t lost in the overall appreciation of the sport, the focus of the sports world should remain on them; they deserve that.
Hearing a player like Hope Solo talk about her role in this equation shows me that she views and understands the bigger picture. Yes maybe men will be drawn in by what they see, but they will stay and bring their daughters and mothers will bring their daughters as well exposing a new generation of girls to the sport. After they come to watch, only then will they fall in love with skill involved and sport as a hole; or maybe inspiring young girls to want involvement in sports altogether which could have an even greater impact in the world of sports.
Women’s sports can’t sustain themselves at this point; that is evident in the lack of money they are making. But as I’ve stated many times before, Americans love events. We are an event driven society, so every chance or event they get to market Women will likely be welcomed and celebrated.
It is not coddling to celebrate effort and the development of a great sport in American society. There are many things wrong with the way we approach the sports that both women and men play; looking forward though, we should definitely stop comparing men and women in world of sports—it’s simply not productive nor does it advance the conversation in a way that is fair or balance.