Stop Stereotyping Female Athletes' Bodies

In today’s world, women are subject to a harsh assumption that we are supposed to look or act a certain way in order to be perceived as beautiful. As an athlete, I have seen the different waves of self love and body positivity, as well as the bitter taste of a stigma that female athletes should have a certain body type in order to be good at their respective sport. This teetering line of back and forth is something that we should be more open to understanding and learning in order for us as empowered individuals to move forward. To set the record straight: stop assuming you know what a female athlete should look like.

We are not born champions, as a famous quote once stated, but made. We strive to be the best version of ourselves in and on the field, track, court, pool, etc. To those female athletes, all that matters is what they can bring to the table in that moment; their concern does not lie where your shallow thoughts about not being tall, skinny, or strong enough to do what we do. The next time you begin to prey on the idea that you should listen to what others say, or you yourself should judge others and their abilities by holding onto only their physical appearance, think again. You do not have to have everything someone else has, but learn to turn it into something worth the effort you put into it. 

Do not look at a young female athlete, who may not be tall enough to play basketball, but can still shoot a hoop, or the runner that is not given the long legs to help with her stride, and think she should not be out there, working towards her own personal goals. Do not look at a dancer, and tell her that she doesn’t have the right torso to go along with the social norm on a stage. Instead of falling victim to negatively stereotyping those around you, take a moment to understand that female athletes are empowered, independent, strong-minded, and hardworking. That the way we look does not determine our worth, sport or not. Because, in reality, there is no “look” to be achieved, but a goal to accomplish. There is no limit to what you can do based on your weight, height, or appearance, but how much you are willing to work for it. 

Confident female athletes are in the past, present, and future, paving the way for more glass ceilings to be shattered, records broken, dances performed, tennis matches won. The list is endless, as are the possibilities for young women in sports. Do what you love, work for what you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.