From Calling Sportswomen Beauty Queens To Athletes Given Skimpy Uniforms: When Will Sexism In Sports End?

Indian batter Harleen Deol called a 'beauty queen' and Norwegian athletes forced to wear bikini bottoms throw light on sexism in sports.

Indian batter Harleen Deol called a ‘beauty queen’ and Norwegian athletes forced to wear bikini bottoms throw light on sexism in sports.

Sports and the sports world have traditionally been linked with men, and there is a pattern of prejudice towards women athletes.

India has had many instances where deep-rooted sexism has been displayed in the arena of sports.

Harleen Deol called ‘beauty queen’ & Shagun Chowdhry shown disrespect

In a recent news report, Harleen Deol batter of the Indian cricket team was referred to as the ‘beauty queen’ of women’s cricket. The headline of the article went on to say that she is so attractive she is often mistaken for a Bollywood actress.

Why should female athletes be subject to unrealistic beauty standards and sexist stereotypes despite their outstanding accomplishments in sports? This is blatant sexism and it is shameful that this is happening in today’s times.

Shagun Chowdhry, a shooter of the Olympic level, said she was viewed frequently as if she’s on a picnic. Close-minded folks presumed that a female in shooting, a sport that is primarily focused on men, is not significant. Why are skills of female players disregarded as leisure activities?

Sania Mirza questioned for putting professional success before motherhood

Tennis star Sania Mirza was interviewed by senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai in 2016, about her memoir that had been released then.

Sardesai shifted the dialogue toward her settling down. He asked, “when is Sania going to settle down? What about motherhood, building a family, I don’t see all that in the book, it seems like you don’t want to retire just yet to settle down?” It was difficult to believe that this was question was placed to the topmost women’s doubles player.

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Mirza spoke for all women when she replied, “You sound disappointed I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world. That’s the question all women have to face – the first is marriage, and then it’s motherhood. Unfortunately, that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number one in the world we become, we don’t become settled.” Mirza’s appropriate response earned respect and immediately put the interviewer on the spot. 

She was also recently trolled for not taking care of her husband and child’s diet. 

Female athletes unsafe even while training…

Neha Kumar a professional boxer from Shillong was preparing for a champions league when her coach and two men sexually harassed her in the washroom of her training gym. She had completed her training for nationals when they assaulted her. Along with the coach, another abuser was a gym driver, and the third was unknown.

Kumar showed incredible resilience in the face of these circumstances, but harassment in the stadium really aren’t isolated incidents. There seems to be no penalty for such assaults, which generally go overlooked and ignored, pressuring female athletes to accept that fact as normal.

Norwegian athletes forced to wear bikini bottoms shows that sexism in sports exists worldwide

Sexism has imprints in other parts of the world as well. The European Handball Federation (EHF) fined the Norwegian women’s beach handball team for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms. The Norwegian beach handball team wanted to play in shorts instead of in bikini bottoms which they found too revealing.

They also claimed that wearing these bottoms makes them feel unnecessarily sexualized and uncomfortable during their period. But they were threatened by the EC tournament organizer with the penalty if they wore anything covering more than 10cm of the butt.

The women wore shorts to their bronze final match against Spain despite the rule, and the Norwegian handball federation said the girls had to pay a fine for wearing clothes that were against the rules of the federation.

It is extremely unfortunate that women, sports in general, are still discriminated against. The media, sports associations, and the public are equally responsible for taking interest in the private lives of female athletes.

Transformation, like so many other aspects of life, commences with all of us. The truth about how and why we play sports is simply beautiful and should be free from sexism and inequality of any kind.

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Alankruta Mohapatra

I believe in conveying emotions and sometimes a strong opinion. I am a part-time writer and poet. read more...

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