A Historical Perspective on Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas now greatly known for being the first full-time female referee of the NFL has not only made history but has been breaking barriers in male dominated sports since she was a child. From being the only girl to play on her fifth-grade basketball team to the first female to officiate a Super Bowl, Sarah Thomas has not reached these milestones easily. Thomas has spoken out about the stereotypes she faced during the climb to making history, saying “You know at first, whenever Gerald Austin hired me, he told me that I needed to tuck my hair to blend in and wear little to no make-up”. This is one of many things women in sport are significantly stereotyped for.  

The First Female NFL Referee - How Sarah Thomas Became a Football Ref
Sarah Thomas in Elle Magazine

Women in sport have been ridiculed for years; until the 1800’s, women were not even allowed to play sports. Today, women are overlooked, underpaid and unappreciated. Society although has been improving but was not the case from the start. Stereotypes of women including expectations of obedience and the weaker sex ideology have been placed on women socially. Thus, it creates some hesitance in women wishing to take part in specific sports. The stereotype that women who have a more muscular build are seen as “butch” is a huge issue for women in sport, the particular reason for this is that women are judged by society if they do not fit the ideal body standard set out for women, especially in sports for the exact purpose to shame women out of sport. 

Macy M.

Featured Image: NFL referee Sarah Thomas (Source: Getty Images)

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