Women in Sports

ronda rousey

Ronda Rousey current UFC Bantamweight Champion

This is the 21st century. All people should be able to do whatever they want by now regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, age, gender, etc. However, there is still this ludicrous double standard of a woman being able to do what she wants, but she still has to look pretty while doing it. A prime example is that men can look however they want, and it’s okay because they are tall or smart or good at a sport. Like Anthony Davis, a famous NBA player, who has a unibrow, but it’s not a big deal because he is the star of the New Orleans Pelicans. Nonetheless, a woman can play a sport, but she also has to be able to wear makeup, dresses and high heels when she is not playing her sport. For women, if have more fat they may be considered ‘too fat’ and if they have too much muscle they may be considered ‘too masculine looking,’ and are automatically deemed unattractive. For example, Ronda Rousey is criticized by some because her body looks ‘too masculine (Block 2015).’ Either way women can never really seem to please society.

Anthony Davis

NBA star Anthony Davis

In one study, conducted by Amy Jones and Jennifer Greer, college undergraduate students were shown pictures of female athletes and then asked if they would read an article accompanying the picture. They were to respond if they think appearance of a female athlete increases audience interest in their sport and if they think seeing a non-typical athlete playing a sport make the audience less likely to gender type that sport (2011).

Results showed that female participants were more interested in reading an accompanying article when a more masculine female athlete was pictured regardless of the sport, and male participants were more interested in an accompanying article when a more feminine female was pictured, especially when they were playing a feminine sport like volleyball. Men also reported a lower interest in an article that pictured a non-stereotypical athlete representing a sport like a feminine female athlete playing basketball. For women the results were opposite once again (interests were the lowest when shown feminine female athletes playing volleyball). Lastly, most participants still held the belief that women who play masculine sports like basketball are more masculine and women that play more feminine sports like volleyball are more feminine (Jones 2011).

This study had mostly female participants and they were all from a university in the Southern part of the U.S. Additionally, data was collected via email, thus some participants may not have been completely honest. Lastly, the mean age of these participants was between 18 and 21, which is still an immature age, with the brain not fully developed (Jones 2011).

However, based on this kind of research, it makes sense why all women are sexualized in the media, regardless of their occupation. Sex sells, and society is more interested in making money than breaking gender norms. Thankfully, the world of sports is changing with more women in more masculine sports and more homosexual men in masculine sports. This information can be used to form hypothesis such as gender typing theories, which are knowledge of gender based on traits, behaviors, and roles, to hopefully bring us a step closer to treating everyone equally regardless of occupation, appearance, gender, etc.

More links to check out:






Block, J. (2015, July 31). Ronda Rousey finds it hilarious when her body is called ‘masculine’ Retrieved September 27, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ronda-rousey-body_55bb77dce4b0b23e3ce246af

Etaugh, C. A., & Bridges, J. S. (2010). Women’s lives: A psychological exploration. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Jones, A., & Greer, J. (2011). You don’t look like an athlete: The effects of feminine appearance on audience perceptions of female athletes and women’s sports. Journal Of Sport Behavior, 34(4), 358-377.

Reid, J. (2014, October 24). Pelicans pick up fourth-year option on Anthony Davis’ contract, but not Austin Rivers’ Retrieved September 28, 2015, from http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2014/10/new_orleans_pelicans_will_pick.html

Ronda Rousey doa cinturão do UFC para ONG de Flávio Canto. (2015, August 5). Retrieved September 28, 2015, from http://eunemsabia.com.br/2015/08/ronda-rousey-deixa-cinturao-do-ufc-em-ong-de-flavio-canto.html

Edited by: Zoe

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