Female Athletes Cannot Keep Up — But Is It Their Fault?

Women are not taken seriously in sports. I have encountered men who claim women never know what they’re talking about; who believe women in contact sports are “undesirable and too masculine.” But is that masculinity not what society craves in contact sports? The biggest, hardest hitting player always comes out on top. Sports are no longer about the skill and agility of the game but instead who can barrel through a line of six-foot-five, 300-pound men the hardest. Due to this glorification of heavyset aggression, women cannot keep up.

As part of our evolutionary code, fighting means survival. In modern times there is no longer a need to fight for survival; now we fight for entertainment. Contact sports have accentuated this desire for violence. Since many women’s sports forbid them from fighting, the excitement of violence brings male leagues much more revenue. The mass amounts of money men’s teams accumulate allows them to obtain better staff, equipment and opportunities — leading to more success on their side of the game. The societal need for hostility in a game hinders women’s ability to succeed because they are prohibited from performing the same actions that bring in spectators for men’s sporting events. 

Aggression is the entertainment, not the sport itself. If skill were the main focus, there would be a greater chance for women to become equal to or above men in terms of popularity, since their stature and given rules would not force them to be seen as lesser athletes. While male players hold impressive amounts of skill, aggression is still valued above all else. If that societal norm is broken and we focus on who, regardless of gender, is best at the skills aspect of the game, there would be less of a rift between the leagues. With that being said, men and women could never compete in the same leagues. Men are in fact bigger than women — it is how evolution has built us — but they should not be viewed as superior. The differences in gender and rules of gameplay put women’s and men’s sports in two completely different realms. There is nothing wrong with men’s sports, but the fact that women’s sports are so drastically different makes it even more imperative that we receive the same glorification as the men’s leagues.

In addition to women being deemed physically “inferior,” women are heavily oversexualized. In 2017, horrifying assault allegations by numerous women were finally exposed by the USA Gymnastics Team, dating as far back as the 1990s. Dr. Larry Nassar had manipulated over 265 women into believing he was performing medical procedures when in actuality he was sexually abusing them with his fingers on various parts of their bodies. A single team doctor sexually assaulted and violated countless underaged girls. Those girls were not respected as athletes. Men are handed lives of luxury and respect, while female athletes must live in fear of those they’re supposed to trust. They are manipulated, harassed and sexualized so much so that it has nearly become a disgusting norm.

Male athletes deserve recognition for working hard for their success, however, the upper hand they hold in professional sports cannot be ignored. Male athletes are highly respected and praised for their aggressive nature, while female athletes are disrespected by their colleagues and considered inferior for our genetic build. I feel that if women’s and men’s sports were viewed as two separate entities instead of held at competition, it would be much easier for female athletes to gain the respect and recognition they deserve.