Anyone who's ever played high school sports knows that, sadly, there can be vast differences in funding, attendance, expectations, and even how we talk about athletics between the genders. And now, with the Olympics at fever pitch, it's become frighteningly easy to spot the discrepancies in how the media covers and comments on men's and women's sports.
recently reported that in the past several months, "57% of media mentions about female athletes have referred to their beauty" and over 100 million media mentions were about their overall appearances. Shocked? Neither were we. What's more, outlets have been saying questionable things, with Fox News
going as far as to say that female athletes are “sexing it up more than ever” while wearing makeup during Olympic competitions. Excuse us?
Now, the expectation that female athletes need to be skilled, strong, and
look good doing it isn't new. And, we all want to look our best. But comparing athletes based on whether they take the field bare-faced (we do
hope they're wearing SPF!) or with a killer cat-eye (we recommend a waterproof formula) is disrespectful. Wearing, or not wearing, makeup is a personal decision that doesn't warrant commentary by a third party. It's also a waste of air time when there's a game or match to discuss.
The moral of the story? Makeup, tattoos, and hair accessories are worn for self-expression, not to score points on the field or with viewers. Athletes such as Ronda Rousey
and Heather Hardy
have spoken out about what makes them feel strong and
beautiful, proving that certain segments of the media don't get to control opinions about this topic.
To continue the conversation, we went where full-contact sports and expressive beauty meet: roller derby. The women you'll meet ahead are badass skaters from the tri-state area. They're tough, athletic, and, guess what, they're wearing makeup, too. We asked them how they feel about portrayals of female athletes in the media, what makes them feel confident, and more.
Because when strong women feel powerful together, a more realistic definition of beauty emerges...