Posted by: writersblock7 | October 2, 2009

A reflection

I brought this issue up in a family discussion, and it was very interesting to hear what my Dad had to say. He definitely agreed that the way that female sports are covered is bad- covered in sexual ways, and shown all too often in traditionally female roles. He agreed that it is not fair or acceptable that women are not shown as the spectacular athletes that they are. However, he said he believes that women already get more coverage than they deserve. Outraged by this comment, I asked him to explain. He said that women’s cricket is the most boring thing he has ever seen, and if you compare the crowds at the women’s world cup final and the male world cup final, the men’s crowd outnumbered the women 30-1. He continued to say that the media coverage of the male game would outnumber the female coverage at about the same ratio. Personally, I would probably say that the ratio would be closer to 50-1 but I’m not going to mathematically work it all out.

He continued to say that women and men’s Waterpolo get the same amount of coverage (which of course is not much), because he said that visually the game is not appealing. Despite the fact that I agree with this (not a Waterpolo fan), this does not explain the fact that the sport is not covered in the news. He also went on to say that in Tennis, coverage would be almost equal. Again, I do agree with this, but I think that Tennis is a unique sport, wherein women have been apart of the game for decades. I also believe that a lot of the media coverage of Tennis is focused on the most attractive athletes, which is explored in an article by John Vincent. The other major difference is that Tennis is an individual sport, and where the major Tennis events are at the same time as the men’s, which in many other sports is not the case (eg Golf). Therefore equal coverage is expected.

This family discussion really made me reflect on some issues. I do agree with my Dad that female cricket is extremely boring and probably does not need the media attention that the male game gets, however they certainly deserve more than they get currently. The reason why I agree with him, is that male cricket is already quite a tedious game to watch, and unfortunately, the women are not physically as capable of creating the excitement that the males do with the bat and ball. This taps into another big issue surrounding whether there should be slight changes in the Cricket field sizes to make the game physically equal. What I mean by this is that female bodies are not built to be as muscular as men’s. Thus they are unable to hit the ball as far, so perhaps slightly reducing the field would allow for more sixes and fours to be hit. However, doing this would probably spark more controversy with female activists suggesting it is sexist. I do agree that it could be seen this way however a line of logic must be drawn.

One of the most important reasons why female cricketers, as well as many other female athletes deserve more media coverage is to encourage young girls to undertake sport. The almost non-existent coverage of female sports sends the message to young girls that female sport is inferior and unimportant. I believe it is a vicious circle- there is a lack of media coverage of female sports because the media sends the message that female sport is unimportant, and therefore not enough girls undertake the sport to a professional level, and there is not a strong supporter base. One thing is for certain, that obesity is a growing problem, and girls must be exposed to female sports to encourage them to live healthy lives. The media is the key to solving this problem.

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