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Olympics Coverage Shows Continued Sexist Attitudes

Updated on August 11, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Women Would Be So Lost Without Men In The Olympics - HA!

If women weren't so easily defined - even now, even in the 21st century - by what the men in their lives did, or by how long ago they had children, how would society function?

Not a breath is mentioned about the men's physiques, or their swim trunks, or how they have done so well after their girlfriends or wives have had children throughout any of the Olympics coverage.

If the female Olympians don't walk out of Rio feeling as though they have been ogled and manhandled to some respects, I'll be shocked. Many sportscasters have tweeted or even openly voiced their appreciation for the women's wear in the Olympics, in addition to talking about the support of the men in their lives, and the few men, such has Michael Phelps, have been celebrated as though they just slew the proverbial Nemean Lion.

Even Michael Phelps' fiancee, Nicole Johnson, has been mentioned as the doting spouse with some outlets mentioning that she was a former Miss USA. News flash: her beauty doesn't have ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING.

I, for one, am grateful of the support men offer in everyone's lives, but I think enough is enough.

Regardless of the team these elite athletes are a part of, they got to this pinnacle of accomplishment because they worked their tails off. Yes, their families and friends supported them - there has to be a lot of understanding there for these athletes and the sacrifices they are making in order to be successful - but whether it's a male or a female athlete, they got to where they are right now because they worked hard.

Why is the media, in droves, so interested in how good looking everyone is?

Why not admire everyone for their skills, not for how they fill out a gymnastics singlet?

We live in a world where the perception of beauty has always been critical. If you are a beautiful woman, you are coveted, yet if you do not fit into that perception of beauty, it somehow seems miraculous that you got to your current station in life.

Men don't seem to have had to answer to that same standard, and they are incredibly lucky for having escaped that, for the most part. They don't have to hear that they accomplished what they have because of the "woman responsible," or that the "woman behind him" helped him get to where he needed to be.

How demeaning is it for women to have their accomplishments defined in the context of what the men in the lives have done, whether it's their fathers, their brothers or their spouses?

As a parent of two girls, one of whom is heading into those dodgy preteen years, I keep waiting to hear of some change to the prevailing patriarchal attitudes that we continue to live by. Yes, men are stronger, for the most part, largely because they are built that way; I'm not expecting that men and women should physically be put on the same playing field.

What I am expecting is that men and women should, at the very least, be afforded the same level of respect for their accomplishments. Women and men can both be single parents, they both can overcome significant health challenges, and they both can bust their butts to achieve their dreams - why ascribe to the sexist belief that somehow women's accomplishments are "less than" and therefore need to be described in relation to what and how the men have accomplished?

Ladies' Team USA for Gymnastics


Outfits Make the Women, But Who Cares?

I get that sports such as gymnastics and diving require very tight clothing. It would be very difficult to be effective as a gymnast or a swimmer of any sort with long, flowy clothes, and I'm not suggesting that all athletic garb gets changed for the sake of evening out the sexist attitudes regarding what women wear.

However, why do we allow female beach volleyball players to continue to wear full bikinis while the men wear tank tops and board shorts? Why can't the female gymnasts wear something similar to what the male gymnasts wear? Both alternatives are still form fitting without raising too much notice to the human forms.

I also understand that people will voice appreciation for what is deemed beautiful. Men and women express their appreciation for both genders in that regard.

However, it's also important to realize that both genders need to be recognized for their accomplishments in their own contexts, and not have women be discussed in the context of what the men in their lives accomplished for them. If people are going to continue that trend, it seems only fair to do what several writers have already done; discuss men in the context of their looks and what women have done for them.

Turnaround is, indeed, fair play.

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Olympian Sexism


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