Female athletes face insecurities

Sophomore+gymnast+Grace+Tilley+practices+after+school.+Tilley+said+that+the+short+length+of+leotards+make+her+uncomfortable.+

Ellie Palaian

Sophomore gymnast Grace Tilley practices after school. Tilley said that the short length of leotards make her uncomfortable.

Ellie Palaian

Sports require physicality. Women have dealt with judgment and discomfort because of their figure for years.

Sophomore basketball player Talon Chestnut has struggled to accept her appearance.

“I personally struggle with my height and looking more muscular than other women,” Chestnut said.

Insecurities can limit clothing options for women in sports. Some women prefer to wear clothes that can make them feel confident, but because of muscle mass, not all clothes can feel comfortable.

“Jeans and certain things I have to alter because of my thigh and shoulder muscles,” sophomore gymnast Grace Tilley said.

Many sports uniforms can also project insecurities. In gymnastics, athletes like Tilley are required to wear tight leotards in practices and performances.

“In women’s gymnastics, the leotards show off your entire legs, and they make it so that your bottom is showing to everyone,” Tilley said.

A lack of female representation in sports can also lead to insecurities in younger girls.

“I just feel like we [women] should have more support, and we should feel important,” junior basketball player Megan Nunn said.

Male-dominated sports such as football, basketball, wrestling and boxing can often present unwelcoming environments towards female athletes.

“When a woman does play basketball, you’re seen as more of a masculine woman,” Chestnut said. “When I go out, and I wear something more ‘girly’ people are surprised, and just because I play basketball, people look at me a certain type of way.”

Even sports that are considered more feminine like gymnastics, cheerleading, aerial, figure skating, dance and volleyball have stigmas that are detrimental to female athletes.

“I have been told by my male coaches ‘to be more like the boys’ and to ‘work on my arms more,’ although women’s gymnastics focuses more on leg skills,” Tilley said.

Certain rules and regulations in sports can have a different effect on women athletes than they do on male athletes.

“You can’t wear earrings because it’s distracting,” Tilley said. “You can’t wear any jewelry or nail polish, and if a bra strap or any undergarment seams can be seen through your leotard, then they can take off points during performances.”

Stereotypes that can come with women in sports are hard to escape.

“I love playing basketball,” said Nunn. “But sometimes, I feel judged, and people tend to base my personality off of that one hobby, which is frustrating.”

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