Judging Appearance Over Skill

It’s no secret in the sports world today that there’s a large difference in how female vs male athletes are viewed. Women in sports: double standards a double fault, written by Marilyn Giroux and Jessica Vredenburg, brings the reader’s attention to one of the many major struggles professional female athletes go through– being judged by their appearance. In fact, “Female athletes are more often judged on attractiveness and physical appearance, while male athletes are judged primarily on performance and skill.” (Giroux & Vrendenburg).

Linking back to the 2015 Australian open, “after becoming the first Canadian woman to qualify for the semi-final at a major tennis tournament, Eugenie Bouchard was asked by the on-court announcer to “give us a twirl” (Giroux & Vrendenburg). Women work just as hard to accomplish major goals in sports yet their skills are often disregarded. Sadly, “Numerous media studies have observed that sports commentary on female athletes often contains references to their hairdos, faces, and bodies, while sports commentary focusing on men rarely does so” (Kane & Lenskyj). What makes female and male athletes so different?

In other sports such as women’s basketball, “the Women’s National Basketball Association holds makeup seminars for rookie players to ensure women secure the sponsorship deals they need to play.” (Giroux & Vrendenburg). The gender ideology in sport needs to end. “Stereotyping female athletes as attractive and feminine shifts attention from their physical prowess to their looks and minimizes the symbolic threats sportswomen pose to male hegemony”. (Kane & Lenskyj). This ideology has gone so far that even “their personal beauty or clothing – was fundamental to fans’ assessments of their performance” (Kane & Lenskyj). Are professional female athletes being judged by their appearance solely to take the heat away from the male hegemony of sport?


Giroux & Vrendenburg Women in sports: double standards a double fault

Kane & Lenskyj
Media treatment of female athletes: Issues of gender and sexualities

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