Misogyny and Sexism in Athletics

Remember the derogatory comments made about the Australian athlete Tayla Harris last month? You probably remember the photo of her kicking a ball in mid-air with perfect form and incredible athleticism. She received an influx of repulsive and sexist comments that she calls sexual abuse on social media, and the photo was removed (but later reposted). It appalls me that twisted people make misogynist statements about talented women, when men appear half naked and sweaty, but are revered as respected athletes.

My daughters competed on one of the best dance teams in the state (No Limits Dance and Performing Arts) and they consistently won at regional and national competitions. Not being a dancer myself, I was blown away by their choreography that required both athleticism and talent. I purchased professional cameras and became their teams’ photographer. I shot group and solo jumps, turns, and unique routines -- movements that didn’t seem physically possible to me. Capturing their gorgeous jumps, I shared the photos with the families.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished!

I distinctly remember one parent telling me that I shouldn’t take photos of the girls doing jumps or kicks if it showed their crotch area – even if their costumes completely covered the area. Like Harris, the dancers were powerful and amazing. This shocked me because this parent succumbed to sexist pressure that objectifies women, or girls, as sex objects. I guess this follows the train of thought that women who wear short skirts are enticing men to rape them. Both athletic and dance photos of women should be appreciated for their talent and skills, and not ridiculed by demented people.

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