Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the US Women’s National Soccer team, will be debuting soon as a contestant on the incredibly provocative reality show,Dancing with the Stars. The producers of this show are not dumb. They have picked up on Hope’s star power, and it has only a little to do with her amazing abilitites as an athlete. The producers know that Hope has a fan base that celebrates her feminity and her sex appeal…and her appearance on the show will do nothing less than attract more attention to her as an athlete… and as a sexy star. I would bet it will also increase interest for the sport overall.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about all of this.
I grew up in a time when women’s sports were only starting to explode, and the offerings for me as a young, female athlete often only included co-ed teams. To be a girl and to be an athlete meant I acted more like a boy than I did like a girl, and because I was mostly playing with boys, that wasn’t a hard thing to adopt.
Times have changed. Girls are encouraged to play sports at the earliest age possible, and the teams are comprised of just girls. There are enough in any sport you can imagine.
Girl power is celebrated and feminity encouraged…even if the girls are strapping on helmets and donning pads in a hockey locker room. Pink is present.
A lot of it is inherently wonderful.
Girls should be proud of what they can train their bodies to do, and most of the time, a fit female body is incredibly attractive. There should be nothing shameful about feminity as a characteristic, and I think it’s great that sex appeal for women at a sporting event is happening ON the field rather than on the sideline.
This is pretty tricky business, though. There is a fine line between celebration and selling out.
I think it is easy for young girls, who watch the female mentors in sport, to confuse what they are really worth. Are women worth the athletic achievement? Is it the beautiful body that matters, or is it the sex that is subtly suggested, that is being promoted?
If we mix sports and sex too readily for the girls, the line gets too blurred too quickly.
So what do we do with the lingerie leagues of the world and the fantastic female athletes who become sex symbols for their sports?
It is a trend I expect to continue, and I cannot control it. What I need to do is to decide what all of this is going to mean for me as a parent of two little girls who love to play sports. I want them to be proud to be girls, but I want them to guard what is precious and sacred. They are worth more than I will likely ever be able to convince them.
What do you think? Do you think sex in women’s sports is inevitable, and is there a way to do it without compromising societal values?
For more information about Meagan or Choosing to Grow, visit her website: www.meaganfrank.com.