It’s no secret that there is still misogyny in the sports industry. After years of struggling to even be allowed to participate in sporting events in the first place, women are still facing major backlash. Messages on social media and news coverage continue to degrade women through sexist comments and portrayals. If women’s sports are even covered in the first place, they are often presented to be irrelevant and unimportant. From pay to the treatment of players by officials like umpires and referees, women can’t seem to catch a break. Most of these issues only pertain to professional players, but how does sexism in sports affect aspiring female athletes? This is our very own girls water polo team’s take on misogyny in sports.
In the past, women have been prevented and discouraged from holding positions of power. So, it can be assumed that female team captains are well-versed in dealing with misogynistic ideals. Junior Captain Jennifer Romero talks about her experience as a female team captain: “If I was playing a co-ed game ... the guys would be like, ‘Oh she’s so easy, like I can take her.’ It just makes me want to prove myself a little bit more. “
Many of the players have noticed that the way women are portrayed in the media is unfair. Team Captain Samantha Acosta recalls noticing a double standard in the water polo video thumbnails found on Youtube. “In the Olympic teams I feel like what makes a thumbnail for a boy’s team is like you know the action, but for females, it’s the underwater shots of their bodies.” Some internet users consuming sports content like Youtube videos impose sexism onto female players through the comment thread.“The comments are like guys saying, ‘They’re just women, they can’t do anything.’ Kind of just...negative comments,” adds Romero.
When asked what she would change about the sports industry, Captain Megan Acosta broke down the cliché that women in sports can’t control their emotions. “The stereotype that women or females are less capable of keeping it together… I don’t think it’s accurate… I hope that sports will realize it’s okay to be passionate, whether you’re male or female, it’s okay.”
Though most of the girls have experienced their fair share of sports-related sexism, they have a great coach behind them working to even out the playing field. Coach Clemente uses a co-ed teaching style to create a family within the ERHS water polo community. “Everybody’s here for one common goal,” he says.
We definitely have a long way to go in terms of equality in the sports industry. Women’s sports continue to not receive the recognition and support they deserve, with no end in sight. I suggest we use this newly obtained truth to put a stop to sexism in sports.