Female athletes strive to overcome challenges

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Female athletes strive to overcome challenges

Autumn Jessee, Reporter

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Female athletes face many challenges. Some are ridiculed for their bodies, while others aren’t taken seriously as an athlete. Females have to train harder and longer to meet the expectations of those around them. Many traditionally female sports, such as cheerleading and dance, are not seen as sports.

“Cheer is often misinterpreted as simply yelling and screaming; however, it involves a lot of core strength and training,” said cheer coach Mrs. Debra Brewster. Many female athletes and athletic events aren’t given the same attention that male sports are given. Pep rallies are one of the few venues during which the school focuses more on the cheer team than the football team. “People just think of it as a preppy alternative. Cheerleaders have a bad stereotype for being snobby and not taken seriously. Cheerleading is a sport, and it should be just as important as any other sport,” said junior Laken Chronister.

Julia Day, a junior, commented, “I think that some of the challenges I’ve personally faced when playing the sports I play are probably being recognized for my personal achievements as well as my team’s accomplishments. The stigma behind female sports as them being lesser or not as important as the boys is also an issue.” The girls basketball team at GHS always plays first and has less of a crowd, and the girls don’t get the opportunity to have the cheerleaders at their games. The boy’s team, however, have the cheerleaders at all their games.

Not all female athletes are overlooked. Recently Toni Harris, from Detroit, was the first female to receive a full football scholarship to college. She is also the second female to play football on scholarship ever in the US – she currently plays at Central Methodist University.

Several outstanding female athletes that have made headlines recently are the US Women’s Soccer Team. They have filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. They filed the lawsuit to combat the unfair pay gap between themselves and the men’s team. The US women’s soccer team wins more matches, but are paid less than the men’s teams. The argument about why men are paid more is because they have more fans than the women. “There is often more hype and attention towards men’s sports,” said Mrs. Brewster.

Junior Micah Edwards, who is on the track and cross country teams, says, “I think they get the same amount of attention.  Just look at the cross country and track team; our number one runners are girls.”

Junior Connor White, who is a member of the GHS Soccer team, mentioned that felt like males get a lot more attention, especially in regards to more conventional sports like basketball.  However, females do excel and get a lot of attention in sports like USWNT soccer, tennis (Serena Williams), gymnastics, and ice skating.

Alex Price, a junior on the wrestling team said, “I believe that male athletes get more attention personally because they are more the norm. As well as more well known, but mainly because with men, it’s a more aggressive, competitive, and active game normally. Don’t get me wrong, women are impressive. In tennis, women can outdo men very easily, but because men are the norm to watch, they get more attention generally men are more competitive and active but there are still many women out there that can destroy men. For example, the 130 miles an hour that Serena Williams is capable of – she’s a very good tennis player.”

GHS girls tennis team

Serena Williams, arguably one of the best tennis players of all time, is often in the media. She is constantly criticized about her appearance and how she doesn’t look or dress ladylike. There is a double standard when it comes to how athletes dress. It is acceptable for male athletes to practice in no shirt at all, but female athletes get ridiculed if they practice in a sports bra.

While we live a progressive age, where strives for equality are made everyday, female athletes still struggle in many ways. It has taken quite a long time for women to get to where they are today, especially in the athletic world. With equality in reach, awareness is the key to reaching it.