The idea of sports has been around since the beginning of human existence, and is still considered one of America’s greatest pastimes. While sports have always been very popular, it appears that sports are geared mainly towards men.
In 2010, a study conducted by the University of Delaware proved that men’s sports in the Olympic games receive much more media coverage than women’s sports do. In the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, men’s sports received about 23 hours of prime time coverage, while women’s sports did not even receive 13 hours. The University of North Carolina conducted a similar study about the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. According to this study, women’s sports only received 47.9% of airtime devoted to the Olympics in 2004. This percentage only got lower in 2008, with women’s sports receiving only 46.3% of airtime. The Olympics are the world’s largest competition, and with only two genders competing, it only seems fair that each should receive 50% of the total airtime, but that is not even the worst part. The coverage of women’s sports mostly consists of sports that are considered socially acceptable for women to participate in, or sports where the female athletes are scantily clad. Sports like rowing, cycling, and fencing only make up 2% of the coverage of women’s sports in the Olympics.
Another example of sports being marketed more towards men is the Super Bowl, which is the championship game of the National Football League. The Super Bowl is often the most viewed television event of the year, and Super Bowl Sunday has become somewhat of a holiday. Even people who do not usually watch football or do not have a team who made the championship tune in to watch the event. The Super Bowl is also very famous for its commercials. These commercials are proof that these large sporting events are marketed towards men. Most of these Super Bowl commercials are about cars or beer, and contain female models in minimal clothing.
While sports seem to be mainly geared towards men, women have made great strides. During World War II many women had husbands that were away fighting in the war, and they decided to create a Women’s Baseball League, even though a sport like baseball was considered unladylike. Although the Women’s Baseball League is not very well known, these women made great strides for women in sports. Now there is Title IX, which says that women are allowed to participate on male teams.
One woman who worked to prove that women were just as capable to play sports as men was Billie Jean King, a tennis player in the 1970s. Bobby Riggs, another tennis player who was 55 years old at the time, claimed that females were inferior and that he could take on and beat any of the top ranked women in tennis, despite his age. Billie Jean King accepted his challenged, which lead to a highly televised event that was known of Battle of the Sexes. Bobby Riggs was incredibly confident with himself going in, after having easily beaten another of the top ranked women in the world, but this match was different. Billie Jean King beat him by a landslide, the game scores being 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Women like Billie Jean King proved that women are just as capable as men in sports. While women’s sports may not receive a lot of media coverage right now, things are slowly getting better. The United States women’s gymnastics team and Missy Franklin are just a few examples of female athletes who have worked incredibly hard and are very well known. Female athletes work equally as hard as male athletes do, and it’s about time that they started to receive the credit they deserve.