Earlier this month, a Cambridge University Press study, analyzing over over 160 million words from decades of newspapers, academic papers, tweets and blogs, concluded what we all see for ourselves: “Men are three times more likely than women to be mentioned in a sporting context, while women are disproportionately described in relation to their marital status, age or appearance.”

Over the course of the past two weeks at the Olympic Games in Rio, the division in the way our global media culture reports on men and women athletes has received both praise and critique. When it comes to what our women champions are wearing, aka Olympic Fashion, as they compete, the divide cannot be any clearer. Patricia Garcia at VOGUE made a round-up of “The Most Egregious Sexist Fails at the 2016 Olympics.” Equally, when it comes to women’s appearance and what they are wearing, there is no subtlety in the lack of focus on athleticism. Take a look below at the headlines coming out of news outlets such as BBC, Yahoo and The Sacramento Bee.

RELATED: The Wednesday Five: Champion Women



The common factor in these headlines: what the women athletes, both American and non-American, are wearing, particularly those of Muslim faith. In her Vox article, “Stop it with the “Bikini vs. Burka” Headlines. Let’s Focus on Women’s Athleticism,” Shireen Ahmed wrote about the women making headlines for what they are wearing and not how they are competing: 

But like any athlete, what she wears — in this case, her hijab — should not define who she is . . . To constantly emphasize what she’s wearing and not her athletic skill is tiresome . . . The sooner that media stops making an article of clothing the sole focus of a female athlete’s identity, the faster sport can be elevated for all women.

RELATED: At 52, Equestrian Beezie Madden Is Competing in Her 4th Olympics (In the News)

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.