The Mistreatment of Women in Sports

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What makes women feminine? Is it their soft skin and long hair or high cheekbones and poise? A lot of people would tell you its their delicate frame and curves that make women feminine. Although female athletes have slowly started to gain the recognition they so deeply deserve, they continue to be the subjects of criticism for their appearance. What gives any person the right to judge a woman and tell her she’s not feminine enough? Instead of focusing on the appearance of these young women we should be celebrating their accomplishments. At 22 years old, most people would think that an athlete would be at the peak of their career. However this past May, Triathlete, Hollie Avil announced her retirement after struggling with anorexia for nearly six years. It all started when she was 16 years old and another teammates coach told her she needed to start thinking about losing weight if she wanted to run faster. Its nearly impossible to believe that an athlete of Avil’s caliber could withstand competing with a eating disorder and still become number one in their sport, but can you imagine how much greater she would have been if she had been at the top of her game. The truth is that we live in a society where female athletes are judge women on a much higher scale than males. Female athletes shouldn’t be torn down and insulted for their appearance instead they should be held up for the extraordinary feats they accomplish. Perhaps if Hollie Avil had received the appropriate praise for being the Junior World and European champion in 2007, she would have had the strength to overcome her anorexia before it resulted in stress fractures in both her shins. Our society’s perception of female athletes isn’t only affecting current sportswomen but also those girls who have the potential to be the rising stars of tomorrow. This past summer Jessica Ennis became the Olympic gold

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