The Female Athlete

Today as I finished my lunch break at work, I was sitting in my cubicle surfing the web (somehow I manage to kill about an hour after my lunch break every day). One of the first things that popped up on the msn.com was titled, The 20 Most Popular Athletes in the World. I was anxiously hoping that some of my childhood idols like Lindsey Vonn, Lara Gut and Anna Fenninger (feel free to Google them I was a ski racer, they are very familiar names) would pop up. I was slightly disappointed by the results. Out of the top 20 “most popular athletes”, only one of them was a woman, Maria Sharapova, legend and bad ass tennis player. Now, let me say that I am the first person to stand up and say there is no men’s and women’s skiing, just skiing. There is no men’s and women’s climbing, just climbing. There is no men’s and women’s biking, just biking. However, why was there only one women? There are tons of women doing amazing things in the outdoors world. Sure we are not 300 pound men tackling each other or seven feet tall throwing a ball in a hoop (shout out to ball sports), but the first American women did just summit Everest without oxygen. Worth talking about? Probably.

What I find amazing about the female athlete is she is fierce. We are not built with the same frame as men. We are smaller and let’s face it we don’t have the physical capacity to be as strong as men not to mention we don’t have copious amounts of testosterone pulsing through our bodies. When a woman is able to accomplish things that are physically astonishing it damn well better be talked about. 5’4” Angel Collinson hucking her meat down the slopes of Alaska should have been talked about way more that it was. That is a tiny creature putting herself out there and defying what society is telling her she is capable of. What about Abby Wambach, American soccer player? She has two Olympic gold medals and has been named U.S. soccer athlete of the year six times. Why wasn’t she featured on this list?

Honestly, when I was reading the article on msn.com I was even surprised that some female athletes who are portrayed as sex symbols weren’t talked about more. How pathetic is that? Me, a person who is always trying to encourage women to push their limits and be their best self was only expecting to see women who are seen as sex symbols in the sport world featured in the top 20 athletes. I guess that is how society has brainwashed me. I’m not trying to pull a “woe to me I am the poor woman athlete” card. However, women are extremely underrepresented in the media for their work in the athletic world. Women are doing things that at one time would have seemed absurd. Will women one day be more represented?  I don’t know. What I do know is that women need to keep pushing the limits and doing things they love.Groups like the Backcountry Squatters need to become bigger and more represented. Things that bring women together to do these amazing things. Maybe a girl will show up to the Squatters meeting thinking that they are the best in their field of interest only to find out that there are ten girls more talented than her, therefore she pushes her limits a little more every day. This is how women will keep progressing. We may not be as represented in the media as we should be but we are pushing the limits every day and trying new things that will hopefully someday be more recognized by mainstream media.

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