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Double standard evident in treatment of women's sports

SAT. | 05-07-22 | OPINION

     Recently, two problems associated with women’s sports have come to my attention after talking with peers and scrolling on social media. These issues mainly regard a team taking priority over another.

     Firstly, Rampant Lines has brought to me attention about how the Rose softball team has been playing second best to a local middle school in regards to field priority. The softball field facilities at C.M. Eppes Middle Schoolare in working condition, although not as nice as Rose’s facilities, yet the Rose softball team’s practices have been pushed back to allow the middle school to use the fields directly after school. Similarly, whenever weather is bad, the indoor facilities have been given to Little League teams instead of the softball team, limiting them to only one batting cage.

     The conditions on the field for the softball team are not as nicely kept as the baseball field, but this could be due to the fact that the coaches do not work at Rose, and therefore a lack of communication could exist between the custodians

women's sports uniforms graphic - abby.png

Graphic by Abby Ershadi

and coaches. Even so, these issues have been long-standing as parents have spoken out for years. Families with children who graduated from high school six years ago spoke about this same issue, yet no changes have been made. Regardless of whether it is the softball or baseball field, if it is a Rose facility, it should be maintained to the same standards. 

     Sticking to the path of discrimination in women's sports, I have come across multiple videos on TikTok comparing men and women’s Olympic uniforms, specifically lacrosse and beach volleyball. Men's uniforms for lacrosse usually contain a bit of padding, jerseys, helmets, mouth guards, gloves and shorts whereas women’s uniforms are a shirt, goggles, a mouth guard and a skirt. 

     The obvious differences between men’s and women’s uniforms are apparent. It is rare to see women wearing shorts in lacrosse, although sometimes the mold is broken. Skirts have been embroidered as tradition in history since the beginning of women’s lacrosse, but the gender bias is obvious. Despite women’s lacrosse teams participating in the same sport as men’s, skirts are the usual because it keeps the “subjugated gender role.” 

     Even if some players enjoy wearing the skirts, uniforms should not be put into a box and have players looked down upon for wearing something different such as shorts. I have talked to peers who play lacrosse at Rose, and the uniforms are bothersome for girls because the skirts do not have built-in shorts which is easier for playing. Ultimately, women’s sports should not be set back because of standards set long ago in history.

     Another gender difference that has recently been causing an uproar on social media is beach volleyball. The standard women’s uniform consists of a bikini-type bottom and a sports bra for a top. Most women wear these types of outfits because beach volleyball is played in a warm weather environment and on sand, therefore wearing a swimsuit-like outfit is convenient. 

     It is absurd that men wearing tank tops and board shorts can take their shirts off without an issue. Even though there are no rule changes in regards to men or women’s volleyball, the bikinis worn in women’s beach seem to be labeled as allowing “more free movement” despite men wearing something completely different. It almost seems to me as though the uniforms that women wear help to boost ratings, especially when Olympic sports are broadcasted on TV.

     Although wearing bikinis may actually help the players, the derogatory stigma that surrounds women’s sports denies recognition of noble athleticism and appears to be related to the uniforms. This is seen in lacrosse as well, as if girls do not want to “get their hands dirty” and check other players and keep a “dainty” feminine image by wearing skirts. 

     I think that whatever women decide to wear, whether it is shorts or a skirt in lacrosse or a sports bikini for beach volleyball, they should not be looked down upon or used as a way to ogle freely. Similarly, no team should be prioritized above another because everyone works just as hard to play the game.

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