August 11, 2016

The Sexism in the Olympics as Seen on News Headlines

female athletes sexism olympics preen

Before the Olympics started, it was noted that around 45 percent of the athletes are women. A good percentage for the prestigious event where male-dominated sports are normally at the forefront.  However, as the media would suggest, the patriarchal thinking is still very present.

As The Cut would point out, some media outfits for the last six days since the Olympics started have been quite unfair with female athletes. For example, when USA’s Corey Cogdell-Unrein won a bronze medal in trap shooting, the Chicago Tribune dubbed her as “Wife of a Bears’ lineman.”

Another faux pas would come from the Daily Mail after referring to swimmer Katie Ledecky from USA as “the female Michael Phelps” after beating her own world record in 400-meter freestyle and won gold for it. Some comments even suggest that “she swims like a man.”

And probably the one of the biggest wrongs committed would be NBC’s live commentary during Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú gold medal win in 400-meter individual medley, where her win was attributed to her husband-slash-coach.

There is a skewed perception when it comes to women in sports. A recent study from the Cambridge University Press even points out that men are the default players in sports, and are three times more likely to be discussed than women. Meanwhile, women are said to be connected to discussions about age, pregnancy, and marital status. So hey, it’s no surprise why some media outlets, knowingly or not, undermine female athletes when they’ve accomplished something.

But that doesn’t mean that this should be considered normal―it’s absolutely sexist to accept this as normal.

Both men and women probably train hard every day to compete in the Olympic stage. Having to compare women to men, and vice-versa, and attributing their success to their more well-known partner is completely unnecessary.

People, most especially the media, need to realize that women can stand on their own without connecting their names to any man. Katie is not “the female Phelps”―she’s a talented swimmer who just wowed everyone with her new record. Corey is not just a lineman’s wife that you mention in passing in an article supposedly about her win. Lastly, Katinka won because of her talent in swimming and not because she’s married to her coach.

If we’re all vying for equality and feminism everywhere, then maybe we need some work in implementing that in the sports category.


Art by Dorothy Guya

Follow Preen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Viber

Filed Under:

#RioOlympics #Rio2016, athletes, Bears, Brazil, Chicago Tribune, competition, Corey Cogdell-Unrein, culture, Daily Mail, female athletes, Katie Ledecky, Katinka Hosszú, media, Michael Phelps, NBC, olympics, Preen,, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Olympics, sexism, Shane Tusup, shooting, sports, swimming, women, world record

More Stories

FauxFeminism2_Pia Cayetano_Patriarchy
Graduation_Greatest_Education_Bless This Mess

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.