By Kaia Zimmerman
Media has come a long way in how they cover women’s sports, but there is still a long way to go. Women’s sports don’t get the same attention male sports do, and women in sports are often sexualized or their accomplishments are covered differently than men.
Even as women’s sports participation is going up, the airtime for women’s sports seems to be the same. According to a study, women’s sports are only given 4% of all sports media attention even though they make up 40% of sports participation.
“I don’t think it is fair that men are more valued in sports than women.” Sophomore GRCC women’s basketball player Danielle Lamancusa stated in an email. “I think women work just as hard as men and should be valued the same.”
ESPN has done a poor job when it comes to covering women’s sports. For example, on their ESPN app, you can go to any male athlete and see all their stats and news about them, but if you try and look for a certain women player, there are barely, if any, stats found about that player.
Recently, Sportscenter posted a photo that highlighted a bunch of athletes who Sportscenter called the GOATS (greatest of all time). The picture included athletes like Tom Brady, Micheal Jordan, and Lebron James. The photo only had one woman, Serena Williams, and she was hidden, so you could barely see her face.
Simone Biles, who is the greatest of all time in her sport, commented on Twitter saying “There are so many women I can think of that belong in this photo, yet there are none.”
Later on, Biles’ Olympic teammate and gold medalist, Aly Raisman commented on the photo with an interview on the Today Show. “It’s disappointing,” Raisman said. “Representation matters, and young girls and women in sports matter.”
A recent post by ESPN highlighted the couple Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe and Bird are two of the best at their individual sports, and are one of the best power couples in sports. Instead of talking about the talents of the couple, the comment section was filled with homophobic and sexist comments.
Women have had some incredible moments in sports in recent years including the most decorated gymnastic team of all time the Final Five, Simone Biles, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, Naomi Osaka, the Seattle Storm and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. The issue is they are not talked about often like male athletes.
Even when women are talked about in sports, they are often not talked about their athletic ability and instead talked about their attractiveness, femininity, sexuality and other aspects that have nothing to do with sports.
Professional golfer, Michelle Wie West recently went to social media to talk about her being objectified by Rudy Giuliani when she was golfing. He commented about seeing her underwear and commenting on her appearance.
“What this person should have remembered from that day was the fact that I shot 64 and beat every male golfer in the field leading our team to victory,” she wrote on Twitter. “I shudder thinking he was smiling to my face and complimenting my game while objectifying me and referencing my ‘panties’ behind my back all day.”
The lack of effort by the media to highlight women’s sport can hurt women athletes especially young women athletes who might not have a lot of people to look up to because they aren’t shown like men are.
“This bias affects women’s sports negatively,” said sophomore GRCC women’s basketball player, Eurasia Green-Boyd. “It can hurt them mentally and cause self doubt.”
The media has to do better to promote and share women’s sports. The lack of media attention is part of the reason why their views are down compared to men. If media outlets like ESPN talked about women’s sports more often and split the air-time between men and women 50/50, the views could go up.
Megan Rapinoe is one of the most famous women athletes, and is known for speaking out about the inequalities between men and women.
“Until we have equal investment and over investment really, because we’ve been so underserved for so long, we’re not gonna have any sort of meaningful conversation about compensation and revenues and TV viewership,” Rapinoe said in a speech.
As an athlete, Green-Boyd thought the bias could be fixed by giving women more recognition in the media.
“Show us as much love as the men because we work just as hard, maybe even harder.” Green-Boyd said. “That’s all we have ever wanted.”