Women’s sport – if like us you are ❤️ ing it at Rio 2016, you may also have noticed something that you are not ❤️ ing and that is how often TV commentators refer to women’s LOOKS not athleticism. Yesterday we were watching the amazing group final of the women’s gymnastics and as Japanese gymnast Mai Murakami stepped up to the vault, the BBC presenter commented that she had a ‘little bit of a different look, not a perky ponytail’. This morning, again on the BBC, presenters were reviewing TEAM USA’s gymnastic performance and one of the presenters turned the conversation from their epic sporting achievement to the number of ‘sparkles’ on their leotards. Even the other two presenters thought that was lame 🙄 prompting one to say ‘I didn’t even notice the sparkles’ 👊🏻
Maybe you’re thinking ‘it’s all a bit of fun’ or ‘I like looking at the outfits’, but check this out. In research published last week on language in sport, researchers at Cambridge University Press found that ‘women get far less airtime than men and their physical appearance and personal lives are frequently mentioned’. At Genderbuzz we know that the language we use to describe women’s achievements in all walks of life IS important and that constantly focussing on our looks takes away from our achievements and can have long term consequences on how we are perceived for promotion and leadership positions.
Women athletes are huge role models for young girls taking part in sport and we need to show girls that physical strength, prowess and talent is valued over beauty. That’s why we came up with our Rio 2016 slogan for Women’s sport #sportnotsparkles to show the great women athletes at Rio 2016 how much we admire and respect them for their achievements, not their looks.
If you have comments on female athletes in Rio 2016 that you’d like to share with us, email us at email@example.com – Title ‘Sportnotsparkles’. Happy Watching!
Click here for Cambridge University press report Language & women in sport