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Women’s Sports Deserve More Respect

Women’s sports usually don’t get the same level as coverage as men sports. Recently the 2011 USA women’s soccer team received plenty of media coverage when they defeated Brazil in overtime in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, and then went on to beat France 3-1 in the semi-finals.  Their level of coverage in the U.S. was surprising  considering the sport was soccer which is not popular in America. Professional soccer in the U.S. doesn’t receive much media coverage, and does not receive the same level of financial  support as other sports like baseball. You can imagine the frustration for the players when dedicate your life to a sport that is not appreciated, and you’re a women.

The U.S.  Women’s  Professional Soccer League barely survives today, because of the lack of financial support. Most U.S. female professional soccer players get paid little compared to their male counterparts which is not saying much. The lack of support for female leagues  is not unique to soccer. The Women’s National Basketball Association suffers from financial troubles and only survives because it receives funding from the NBA. Part of the problem is the lack of awareness of female sports leagues. Most people are familiar with the NFL, but did you know there is a female football league. No I’m not talking about the Lingerie Football League. It is sad that most people are only familiar with men’s leagues. When you look at the facts it is clear that female sports are not popular with the public, and receives very little media coverage.

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Why are female leagues not more popular? It’s hard to believe when there are more women than men. So, shouldn’t women sports technically be more popular?  Unfortunately women’s sports is  not that even close to as popular as men’s sports even among women. The main reason that society has a negative stereotype of female athletes. Men typically put down each other by comparing each other to women; you throw like a girl, my mother can play better, my sister can hit harder than you.  The general public assumes that women are not as strong nor as talented as male athletes. This is why women’s sports fields are shorter, female sports equipment are lighter, and women have different standards for competition.There is nothing wrong to say that men are naturally stronger than a woman, because it’s scientifically true that men tend to be physically stronger than women. However, it goes too far to say that  a woman is not capable of making up the physical difference between men and women. Although, Team USA lost to Japan in the World Cup finals this team has more heart and talent than most men’s soccer teams.

Team USA helped women sports gain more respect in the eyes of the American public. They had to overcome challenges of being female athletes, and dedicating their lives to a sport that is not really appreciated in America.  They deserved all media attention they received. Not because they are women, but because they are great American athletes.

Disqualifying The Iranian Women’s Soccer Team Is Not Democratic

Today as a fan of soccer I’m very upset with the recent decision of FIFA. For those that may not know. FIFA officials disqualified the Iranian women’s soccer team in a crucial match that would qualify them for the Olympic Games. The reason they were disqualified was because the female athletes were wearing religious head scarfs. Earlier in April FIFA decided to ban all religious garments in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  The Iranian team toke it upon themselves to make a headscarf that was tight around the head, and complied with FIFA regulations. When the FIFA officials found that they were still in breach of regulations they were disqualified. This decision left these hardworking athletes in tears.

FIFA states that another reason for the ban is for the safety of the players. The official rules state  a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to themselves or another player. FIFA contends that these head scarfs are dangerous. I would disagree. Also, a number of FIFA players wear headgear that I would consider more dangerous.Petr Cech, goal keeper for the team Chelsea. He is seen here wearing headgear every game after a serious head injury. I would contend that his headgear poses a bigger threat since it contains padding.

I am not a supporter of Iranian policy of forcing women to wear the headscarf. I believe that religion should be a choice, and shouldn’t be forced. To force women to wear the headscarf is oppression of the women’s right to express their faith as they see fit. That being said banning the headscarf also means that Muslim women from other countries, including western countries cannot compete. This ban forces observant Muslim women to choose between the beliefs, and their desire to compete. I suspect that this decision was made with other motives.  Whether the motives were political in nature, I’m not sure. I am sure that this decision is not Democratic, because Democracy is inclusive not exclusive. I’m sure that it’s not religious freedom. It’s simply wrong. This decision hurts the spirit of the Olympic Games, and FIFA should be ashamed.

What do you think?

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