In a Nike video honoring the US Women’s National Soccer team and their World Cup win, a voice in the background says, “TV shows will be talking about us every single day, and not just once every four years.”
But, since that video surfaced it went viral for about a week, and there has been no talk about the team. This hasn’t happened with just the soccer team, it’s relevant when talking about ANY professional women’s sports teams and female athletes. The lack of media coverage for women’s sports not only invalidates their hard work, but it lessens the chance of a younger athlete being inspired by it.
To put things into perspective, I just scrolled through the home pages of Bleacher Report, ESPN, and Fox Sports and not a single female athlete was mentioned. When looking up the top female MMA fighters, instead of career statistics, the top result was “25 hottest female fighters in the sport today.” Young female athletes don’t want to know who’s the “hottest” they want to know who to be like if they want the most knock outs.
One might say that I simply need to go to ESPNW and from there I can find all things female sports. However, ESPN stands for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, there should be no need for the separation of ESPN and ESPNW. Even when you do go to ESPNW there are far less news articles and information than there is about male athletes and teams on their regular site.
In the rare cases when we do see female athletes portrayed in the media, it’s to diminish their efforts and place judgments on who they are. Female athletes are set to a much higher standard of how they should look, think, talk, and act, and as soon as they stray away from what the media thinks they should be, they are criticized.
Why do we call Serena Williams psychotic for raising her voice at a referee when NFL players do it every game? Why do we say Alex Morgan is disrespectful for pretending to sip a cup of tea after a great game against England, when male athletes can get away with the most animated celebrations? Why when a female athlete has muscle, she is seen as too manly? And why are female beach volleyball players objectified for how they’re dressed and not an object of insane athleticism? There have been many instances of female athletes and teams excelling in sports but instead of praising and congratulating, the media finds something to shame them about.
Female athletes don’t have to do better to get in the media, the media has to do better. Women in sports are doing everything right: winning, playing hard, breaking records, and making history, but we have yet to see it in the news.
Here are just a few examples of what you need to know:
In 2019, April Ross and Alix Klineman (pro beach volleyball) have secured four national titles, three international titles, and one world champion title.
Cori Guaff (tennis), at just fifteen years old, beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon.
This year, Simone Biles (gymnastics) brought home two national titles and one world title as she prepares for the 2020 Olympics.
Megan Rapinoe (soccer) earned her second World Cup Victory.
Amanda Nunes (MMA) is on a nine-streak win.