General Question

chelle21689's avatar

Why aren't women respected in sports?

Asked by chelle21689 (7648points) March 28th, 2012

I feel like people are more concerned with how visually pleasing they are, the sexual side, etc. It’s so annoying! I mean, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a woman’s body, but come on…why can’t women be recognized for their skill in sports? I feel like everyone concentrates more on a woman’s looks than her skill…why is it that they give women a harder time on how they look than men?

Sometimes I think it’d be easier being a guy if I were given a choice lol

But anyways, in recent news, women are given the option to not wear bikinis in the Volleyball Olympics and the comments on Yahoo disgust me…check it for yourself

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48 Answers

Trillian's avatar

But that’s the way it is. We are conditioned to measure a woman’s worth by her ability to attract multiple males. (paraphrase, G. Steinem) Men and women both are conditioned this way from childhood.
Whaddya gonna do?
Pay close attention when you hear people discussing others. Many people ONLY relate to others through sexuality, whether or not they would want to have sex with the other person. All you can really do to save your own sanity is to disengage. It’s not an argument you can have with most people, and the bottom line is critical thought capability. Most of us have it, but most don’t exercise it.

FutureMemory's avatar

People like to say dumb shit on the internet. (They think they’re being funny).

marinelife's avatar

Because men rule the world.

Zaku's avatar

For the same reasons they are objectified and disrespected in many societies: to try to control their sexuality, and to continue the cycle of molestation and sexual abuse. ⅔ of American female children are molested by the time they are 18, and this is part of the system of ideas that keeps it in place.

tom_g's avatar

Warning: Minority opinion here…

What “minority” are we talking about? The minority of people who doesn’t “respect” men or women for running around playing games. It’s not that I disrespect them – I just don’t respect them any more than I would if I just saw them standing in line at the grocery store. And, this is not to take away from the physical achievements that are possible. I can certainly be in awe of something amazing from time to time.

That said, there are people who enjoy watching people play games (sports). Many of these people are my friends, neighbors, and family. When they watch a particular sport, they want to see the best in that sport. For example, when they watch a basketball game, they are looking for the absolute pinnacle of basketball skills to wow them. They are not looking for the best ________ (fill in short man, man over 6’10”, woman, person with blonde person). Now, the reality is – since there are physical differences in men and women – and we have separate leagues (NBA & WNBA) – these sports fans watch the NBA and many find that watching the WNBA is just not to their liking (NOTE: I am specifically talking about women I know who are basketball fans. Also, again – I think it’s all just silly games and I am not interested in watching men or women bounce a ball for a couple of hours).

So, I think there is some part of this that just reflects the average physical differences between men and women, unfortunately. Nobody wants to see UFC fights between men and women. While the average woman could probably kick my ass (and probably wants to due to this post), we’re talking about a sport that is lost or won in large part due to physical attributes. And the fact is – males and females have some real physical differences.

The other point you make (about men liking to just look at women and judge their appearance) is also just a reality that some women do not understand. Much of this is biological, but you’re right – there is a cultural aspect to this that we should be aware of. I didn’t read the comments in that link to the Yahoo article. However, I suspect it is filled with lowest common denominator nonsense from the trash that is attracted to those comment sections.

Anyway, I already regret commenting, and I hope I am not interpreted as advocating for some sexist attitude about women and sports. I’m also suggesting that sports – which is an exhibition of the physical feats – is probably fertile ground for judging people on their physical appearance and performance. I don’t “get” sports, so I probably should just shut up.

chelle21689's avatar

@Tom_G, I’m not a big sport watch person, but I’m just saying men are praised for their skills and it’s on magazines…versus a female athlete on a magazine it just mostly shows her sexual side. I have seen an article written about the differences in the covers if you google it.

I know that people are more willing to watch the NBA over the WNBA or any other male dominated sport, but I’m just saying that men aren’t looked at for their looks in the media. I mean, sure women notice but it’s not a big point made.

captainsmooth's avatar

Women aren’t respected in sports because they do not generate any revenue.

Personally, I don’t follow women’s sports because the pace of the game is slower, and the skill level is lower. I have tuned in for women’s soccer, hockey, basketball, and the differences in the speed and skill is huge.

I have watched women’s volleyball at the collegiate and pro level, and it is entertaining, but not a money maker (for that matter, men’s volleyball isn’t either).

I understand your frustration about the volleyball uniforms and the comments, but aren’t women objectified in almost all areas of our society?

@Zaku what is your source for ⅔’s of the female children in America are molested? If that is true, how is molested defined?

funkdaddy's avatar

Women are respected in sports.

By those who appreciate sports and can appreciate their achievements, and that group is getting larger all the time.

SpatzieLover's avatar

How many women do you know that dedicate their entire weekend to watching sports @chelle21689?

The audience for male sporting events is almost even on some events, yet surprisingly for women’s events, the audience is heavily male. When the advertisers start realizing women are interested and start marketing to women, IMO events will become more evenly viewed by females.

chelle21689's avatar

That’s not the point. Whether the audience is male or not, I still feel that women are objectified for their looks when it should be their skills. You can appreciate someone’s beauty and sexiness but I feel it should be downplayed a bit when you’re focusing on someone’s achievements. I think I remember reading about Leonardo Dicaprio how after Titanic he was considered a heart throb to women and he hated that image and wanted to be taken seriously as an actor and known for his skill not his looks. I’m just saying it sucks not getting recognized for something you want to be recognized for.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Women don’t objectify themselves as much as men objectify them. I think your premise is faulty. I personally have been involved in a heavily male dominated sport world since I was born. Women are taken quite seriously by the other participants, yet they allow themselves to be objectified to gain marketing dollars.

Danica Patrick is a great example of this.

funkdaddy's avatar

You should ask McDreamy and McSteamy why they aren’t respected more for their craft.

chelle21689's avatar

@SpatzieLover, I think part of that is true where women allow themselves. I mean, they’re the ones that decided to pose half naked doing their thing on a magazine cover…but who knows maybe they want fame and money and there wasn’t really any other option? hahah

Blackberry's avatar

Sexism + Ignorance = Lame people. :(

rojo's avatar

@captainsmooth I would disagree with you on the womens’ soccer. I much prefer to watch women play. When I watch a mens’ game generally the impression I get from the players is that this is just a job. With the women, it is more like they play with their heart. They actually look like they are enjoying themselves as they play. And, in my opinion, their skill level is comparable to their male counterparts. Can’t say much about the other sports as I don’t follow them at all.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@captainsmooth By that argument, the only athletes we should respect are males who play American football (who generate far more revenue than anyone else, at least in the United States). But in fact, people respect more athletes than just the males who play American football. As such, revenue cannot be the whole story.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I think your premise is flawed.

The most widely respected sports teams in South Dakota are Northern State Univeristy women’s basketball and SDSU Jackrabbits women’s basketball.

There was a time when Shirley Muldowney was the most feared driver in drag racing. And she was always respected.

FutureMemory's avatar

I love women’s tennis. Also beach volleyball. Very exciting.

But Basketball? I tried to watch a WNBA game, and they kinda suck. Vast majority of shots taken were misses.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m with @funkdaddy. I reject the over-generalized premise. I don’t doubt that it’s true in some cases. In some cases, men are also objectified into size, weight and speed statistics, when athleticism, will and “heart” mean a lot more than that.

As a man, I very much appreciate the athleticism of many women’s team and individual sports. I also appreciate the female form when I’m doing it, and I don’t see anything wrong with that (just as I can also appreciate some of the simplicity of “size, weight and speed statistics” in judging male performances and capabilities).

rooeytoo's avatar

First of all, I am thrilled that women are finally ALLOWED to wear something other than bikinis for beach volleyball. It always infuriated me that the males were wearing comfy boardies and tank tops while the women couldn’t concentrate on their game because they were busily pulling their tops and bottoms back into place after each shot.

Women themselves add to this culture by playing lingerie football. There are some good athletes playing that game but why oh why do they allow themselves to be made objects by participating. Maybe the money is good but that argument is the same as prostitutes working their way through college. I would tell them to get a real job, make less money but gain a lot of self respect.

Some women’s sports are not as fast and rough as mens, no doubt about that. But the skill level is increasing each time they go on the field and will continue to do so. When people start raising daughters and telling them they can do anything instead of saying, hey you are not strong enough, you don’t like this, your brain is not hardwired for that AND when people start raising sons to respect women and not see/treat them as objects, hopefully times can change.

When I was young I wanted to be a veterinarian, but at that point it was an extremely difficult field for a female to break into. Now it is dominated by women. Times do change.

6rant6's avatar

@chelle21689 “You can appreciate someone’s beauty and sexiness but I feel it should be downplayed a bit…”

I hope you can see this is an awfully mushy target you’re directing people toward.

Yes there is a continuum of how much people focus on the appearance of athletes (and not just women). And yes when they’re not on the court or in the field women are encouraged to look good.

But that is because they’re selling products, including themselves. Let me ask you, do you think that NBA players wear suits because that’s what they feel comfortable in, or because that’s what sells their product? And some teams are required to wear those uniforms off the field.

I enjoy watching some women’s sports. To be honest, I do enjoy the sexualness of it. So in watching sports that have costumes that enhance appearance, I get something extra. You are not going to take out the genetic part of me that enjoys looking at women. So I will probably always prefer that women I watch look good. Appearance may have an impact on how much I enjoy an event and so may determine whether I watch it at all. It has nothing to do with whether I respect them as athletes.

And if you really want women to get respect as athletes and nothing else, they should be clamoring to compete against the men. But as far as I know, they don’t.

rooeytoo's avatar

@6rant6 – I think saying “And if you really want women to get respect as athletes and nothing else, they should be clamoring to compete against the men. But as far as I know, they don’t” is not logical. It is like saying a woman MD should not be respected unless she competes against a male MD. One gains respect by being good at what they do. If a woman competes against a man in anything and beats him, it can be said that she is better than he is at that one specific event and that’s about it. I don’t see what it has to do with respect.

I thought a male animal looked at a female (when she is in heat) and then the biological imperative to perpetuate the species prevailed. I thought that the brain of a human male allowed him to look at a female and not be overcome by a biological imperative. To consider her as a human being not just a repository for semen or object if you prefer that term.

josie's avatar

I don’t know the answer. But I do know this. Even when the players are good, women’s basketball is not that good. Sorry.

rojo's avatar

Heck, @josie Thats just basketball in general.How can you call it a sport when the refs blow the whistle every few seconds and call a foul on some ephemeral action thus stopping any possible action that might have presented itself? And then to WALK to the other end to shoot foul shots where the only person in motion is the shooter. Booooooooring!

6rant6's avatar

@rojo Uh… doctors do compete, and it is men against women as well as intragender. They compete for jobs, for awards, for customers.

You wrote, “I thought that the brain of a human male allowed him to look at a female and not be overcome by a biological imperative.”

Who said anything about being overcome? That’s your idea. I won’t speak for all men, but a beautiful woman who is neither well spoken nor talented hold little interest for me. Except the Kardashians. I mean who doesn’t like a good train wreck?

digitalimpression's avatar

I think that perception is just a matter of sheer numbers; Numbers of women who are actually sports fans , numbers of women who would get their butts handed to them by a male team (in one of the four major sports), numbers of women who just aren’t into sports in any way… and so on.

That’s not to say there aren’t some women who absolutely dominate at every single sport… but the sheer numbers don’t lie.

rojo's avatar

@6rant6 Uh, No, I didn’t,

chelle21689's avatar

haha don’t get me started on lingerie football league O.o

woodcutter's avatar

Not seeing all this dissing of female athletes. You think that females aren’t objectifying some of the beefcake that can be found in male athletes?

whitecarnations's avatar

“why can’t women be recognized for their skill in sports?”

When I used to pay a ton of attention to tennis I’d always appreciate women’s tennis in the WTA for their sheer skill and passion.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@rooeytoo “First of all, I am thrilled that women are finally ALLOWED to wear something other than bikinis for beach volleyball. It always infuriated me that the males were wearing comfy boardies and tank tops while the women couldn’t concentrate on their game because they were busily pulling their tops and bottoms back into place after each shot.”

I completely agree with this. Even as a straight female it’s hard to concentrate on the sport when I’m worrying if something is going to “slip out”. I just want to go out there and bring them something more comfortable.

6rant6's avatar

@rojo My mistake, took the first match on @ro…

rojo's avatar

@6rant6 Kinda figured but just thought I would poke you anyway. (is this where I say LOL or was it decided that that is inappropriate at times like this in a previous post? Darn this digital etiquette).

Keep_on_running's avatar

@rojo You’re supposed to say this!

FutureMemory's avatar

Why on earth were they required to wear bikinis? That just sounds bizarre to me.


WestRiverrat's avatar

@FutureMemory it is a made for TV sport, that is what the TV producers wanted. I tried to watch it once, and the bikinis were actually a distraction.

FutureMemory's avatar

Ahh, I see. I’ve only watched it once, during the 2008 Olympics. Very exciting. The bikinis were just icing on the cake, heh.

woodcutter's avatar

I can only speculate on this but there’s a lot of diving into the sand in this sport and maybe a one piece suit is gonna trap a ton of sand that will chafe the hell out of the players by the end of the match. Two piece rigs will at least let some sand fall away. Functionally two piece might allow better range of movement without the top dragging the bottom part up the crack?

rooeytoo's avatar

@woodcutter – take it from someone who has played a lot of beach volleyball, no! Unless you are burrowing into the sand I don’t think that will be a huge problem. Not having to worry about your top coming down or your bottom coming up and/or constantly tugging them back into place will be a blessing!

Now what will be interesting is whether the women take advantage of the new ruling (“Shorts of a maximum length of [1.18 inches] above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops,”) or whether their individual sponsors still demand the bikinis.

6rant6's avatar

@rooeytoo Yeah, there’s a good chance if the sponsors sell bikinis, they’ll still want to see them.

mattbrowne's avatar

“The ten highest paid female athletes made $113 million over the past 12-months. Sharapova earned $25 million over the last 12-months. She maintains an impressive endorsement portfolio that includes Nike, Head, Evian, Clear Shampoo, Sony Ericsson, Tiffany and Tag Heuer, and she has 5.2 million Facebook fans. Sharapova extended her Nike agreement in 2010 for eight years that could net her as much as $70 million.”

Well, you can’t earn that kind of money if people don’t respect you as a sportsperson.

Ergo, there’s plenty of interest and respect.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you watch or read about women’s tennis, much of the comment is on what they are wearing this season, not so much on whether they can volley well or have a slice backhand in addition to their two handed top spin drive.

Is that respect for their sporting ability?

Some prostitutes make a lot of money, does that mean they are respected?

Women being forced to wear bikinis to play a demanding sport while their male counterparts wear comfortable sensible clothing, regardless of the money they earn, does not indicate innate respect to me???

Ergo money does not equal respect.

Zaku's avatar

@captainsmooth ⅔ is a common estimate. Simply Googling “molestation statistics” will get you lots of information. The official statistic of reported cases is that: “one out of every three to four girls has been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One boy out of every six will be abused by the age of 18. Although we have some reports and convictions to base these statistics on, they are actually not accurate. So many cases of child molestation go unreported each year, so we really cannot estimate the real numbers. The FBI reports that the National Institute for Mental Health found that only 1% to 10% of victims ever tell that they were abused. Boys report far less than girls.” The usual extrapolations I see are ⅔ of all American females. It is an estimate, and definitions also vary. The above quote appears on several sites; I pasted it from Some citations are on this page: which has exceeded bandwith limits but Google has it cached here

6rant6's avatar

If I recall correctly, all the men who play beach volleyball at the Olympics wear shirts – but not all do on the tour. Does that mean they are required to wear a tank at the Olympics? Or is that just Nike making them wear the whole uniform?

funkdaddy's avatar

Here’s a link to the 2004 Olympic Beach Volleyball rules

Section 24 outlines uniforms


The official men’s uniform for the Olympic Beach Volleyball tournament consists of:

- a tank top and shorts

- eventual accessories

The official women’s uniform for the Olympic Beach Volleyball tournament consists

- a top and briefs
– a one piece uniforms

- eventual accessories

Players from the same team must wear identical uniforms (style, fabric and color)


So the real change seems to be from wearing swimsuits to allowing for shorts and a sleeved shirt.

It’s not that anyone was required to wear bikinis, there was the option to wear the one piece, apparently no one took it. The new rules are to allow for those with more modest cultures to participate as the sport tries to expand.

As far as the men, they have a to wear a shirt it seems.

Many many news stories, and a lot of outrage, over a uniform change where it seems none of the participants choose the more conservative uniform. Yay internet!

6rant6's avatar

So all of you who were so appalled at the requirement to wear bikinis had damn well better tune in to watch them play in sweats to make up for the strictly prurient viewers changing channels. Otherwise – when the ratings fall off – so do the sweats.

Thanks for the info @funkdaddy

rooeytoo's avatar

I really never watched any sport, female or male, to see what anyone was wearing. Well except maybe hockey, I love the goalies’ masks, they are so provocative!

6rant6's avatar

I’m guessing that if the ladies do cover up, we’re much less likely to catch the sight of ‘Bush on the court.’

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