The Revolution of Women's Sports in America
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The Revolution of Women's Sports in America

What needs to happen in order to continue the rise of women's sports in America?

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The Revolution of Women's Sports in America

When we think about sports, we think primarily about males.

It is very rare that people think of women first when sports become a topic. Thankfully, this has begun to change some in America.

Lately, women have been owning the sports world. On July 5, the United States Women's National Soccer Team dominated the Japanese National Team in the Women's World Cup Final, 5-2. The win added the third World Cup victory in USWNT history, the first since 1999. And the U.S. was captivated by it.

The game drew 25.4 million viewers in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated. That was the most watched soccer game in the country ever, men's or women's. The team has become so popular that forward Alex Morgan became the first female to grace the cover of the EA Sports video game, FIFA 16, alongside Lionel Messi. FIFA 16 will also mark the first time that women's teams will be included in the game.

They also got to appear on stage with Taylor Swift. Seriously, they got it all.

Serena Williams took home another Wimbledon championship, winning her 21st major title in singles. If Williams wins the U.S. Open in September, she will become the fifth woman to win the calendar Grand Slam, having already won the Australian Open and the French Open in 2015. She would also tie Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era with 22, and would be two shy of tying Margaret Court for most all-time Grand Slam titles with 24.

Last year, Becky Hammon became the first female assistant coach in the National Basketball Association with the San Antonio Spurs, then led the Spurs Summer League to a championship on July 20. While the Summer League is not the biggest accomplishment, it is very difficult to get a group of men fighting for their next, or first, contract in basketball to focus enough to play good team basketball.

And when you get a stamp of approval from Greg Popovich, the five-time NBA Finals champion coach of the Spurs, you can coach.

Ronda Rousey has completely dominated the sport of MMA, beating every opponent she has faced before the end of the first round. Her last two fights have combined to last 30 seconds: 16 seconds against Alexis Davis and 14 seconds against Cat Zingano. It took Rousey 30 seconds to decimate two top challengers for her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship.

She also dropped Floyd Mayweather with a fantastic one-liner at the 2015 ESPY's: "I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once."

All these accomplishments by women in American sports have finally shed light on an undervalued part of sports: women are really good athletes.

While all the recent coverage of female athletes has been a breath of fresh air, there is still a lot of work left to do in order to truly appreciate women in the world of sports. There are three vital steps to continue the change in perception of women in sports.

1. Social Media

In our day, social media plays a huge part into what is popular. Does anybody else remember that unbearable debate about whether or not a dress was white and gold (it was)? That became a thing because of social media.

The word has to get out about women's sports. There has been coverage about women's sports here recently, but if there is to be real change, then this has to be talked about on social media. Otherwise, this issue risks becoming another blip on the sports radar.

In 2011, the Denver Broncos had an issue at quarterback, as Kyle Orton was just not getting the job done. Fans of the team wanted to see Tim Tebow get the job, so they voiced their opinions on social media with chants and billboards. "Tebowmania" was soon born. Tebow eventually got the job, and led the 1-4 Broncos to an 8-8 finish to the regular season and a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The point is that the fans of sports can make a monumental difference.

Whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, the point is that the people wanting to start a revolution of women in sports take the initiative to spread the word. Once those people step up and start to speak up, then sports shows begin to pick up on the trend, explore it, and provide the people with what they want.

We have the tool of social media - why not use it?

2. The Exposure Problem

Most fans are not able to watch every game, at every moment. Whether at work, school, on vacations, etc., people have other things to do that pull them away from the TV. To catch up, they watch highlight shows, mostly on local news' sports segments or on Sportscenter.

If you currently watch Sportscenter, you are probably not going to see women all that much. According to a study in Sage Journals, slightly more than five percent of Sportscenter stories are devoted to women's sports. That's the same as in 1989.

There has to be more exposure on shows like Sportscenter for women's sports to get more recognition. Exposure does not necessarily mean highlights, but also stories about an individual female athlete. As a fan, I find it interesting to watch a documentary on the career of Abby Wambach and her quest to finally win a World Cup.

Furthermore, women's games are rarely televised if the game has no value. ESPN will broadcast baseball games in the middle of the season, while there have been four Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) games shown on an ESPN affiliate live, and one was the All-Star game. If the WNBA can get TV deals with larger networks (i.e. ESPN, Fox Sports), it creates more visibility for the sport.

This goes for all women's sports. If more leagues can start to lock up TV deals, there's more eyes that finally get to watch these female athletes accomplish all these incredible things in sports.

3. Look at Female Athletes as Athletes, Not Just Sex Symbols

Sepp Blatter, the disgraced outgoing FIFA president, was asked what he thought would boost the popularity of women's soccer.

This was his response: "Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty...."

That is an absolutely awful way to look at female athletes.

Relax, guys. That does not mean you cannot say a female athlete is pretty if you think so. At some point, though, we have to realize that they are so much more than their looks.

Alex Morgan and Hope Solo did not make the USWNT because they are attractive. Yes, they are attractive, but to devote all attention on them because of their attractiveness completely undercuts the hard work they put in, throughout their lives, to become the players that they are. Solo is one of, if not the, best goalkeeper in the world. Morgan is a top scorer who was hampered by an injury in the World Cup.

The attitude displayed by Sepp Blatter has to change in our nation. We have to look at female athletes, and females in general, as more than just their looks. It is okay to have an opinion about a player's looks. On the other hand, we do not take all male athletes and pin all of their success on the fact that they look good.

These females are not models. They are athletes who have worked tirelessly to achieve that status that they have. As such, they deserve to be treated like athletes.

Sports are much better when there are more options to watch. While men have dominated sports in American history, women are finally starting to get recognized for their accomplishments. This is no longer a man's world. We see more women working in sports in all types of roles, whether it is playing, coaching, managing, or reporting. It is vital that women get the recognition they deserve.

On the other hand, we still have a long way to go in our nation in order to see true equality in sports for women. Social media has to be the catalyst that starts the change in perception of women in sports. Once that change happens, there must be more exposure to female athletes. Lastly, we must stop looking at female athletes as sex symbols and models, and start to appreciate them for what they are and have worked to be:

Athletes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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