Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

Where are the female professional athletes?

I got lost down the rabbit hole that is the internet recently when looking for inspiration. I decided to find some of the top female professional athletes around the world and add them to my Instagram for a daily dose of motivation.

Instead what I found was depressing and frustrating.

The top searches were all about the “smoking hot” female athletes who frequently posted bikini photos. Most lists (like Bleacher Report‘s) somehow left out all of the photos of athletes in their element in favor of cleavage, pouty selfies, and poll dancing videos. And the athletes.

Women athletes are frequently only seen for their beauty, their bodies. Not what their bodies can do or accomplish, but what they look like in and out of a bathing suit (I’m talking to you Sport’s Illustrated). They rarely have news coverage where someone doesn’t talk about the way they look (from their smile to their waist size) or are asked questions no one would dare (or care) to ask a male professional athlete.

I want to feel like this again.

A photo posted by Lauren Fleshman (@fleshmanflyer) on

Female athletes are so much more than what they look like. And yet they rarely make ESPN’s top plays of the night. They don’t make the front page of the sports section. Their names aren’t spoken over millions of dinner tables after a big game.

And it frustrates me. Why is it so hard for me to find female role models? Why are the Lauren Fleshmans, Annie Thorisdottirs, Alex Morgans, and Candace Parkers so hidden? Why do we hold male athletes in such high regard and think little of their female counterparts?

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