Sexism in the Olympics

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By Marillyn Heigl, Opinion Editor

Every four years the best athletes in the world gather in one city to compete, trying to prove they are the best. Beginning on August fifth, the world tuned in on television networks to cheer on their country’s athletes competing in the Rio Olympics.

Of course, all of these athletes are the best of the best. Despite this, female athletes are still being discriminated against and criticized.

This year American gymnast Gabby Douglas, 20, did not have the success she had four years ago in London. However, she is still a world-class athlete and for the second year in a row has received criticism on her hair, specifically on how uneven the edges of her hairline are. Twitter was quick to attack her with plenty of remarks about her appearance.

A Mexican gymnast named Alexa Moreno, 22, was also attacked on Twitter, but unlike Douglas, she was body shamed. Although she is only 99 pounds, users were saying that she is fat and a pig.

A Mexican Twitter user wrote a tweet accompanied with a picture of Peppa the Pig that said, “Exclusive imagines of Alexa Morena finishing her gymnastics routine.”

On August 15th while the women were preparing for a preliminary for the 400-meter hurdles, the cameraman zoomed in on U.S. Olympic athlete Ashley Spencer’s nails for about seven seconds, which were painting bright pink.

What is truly disappointing about this is how the women are treated so unequally in comparison to the men. Male athletes do not receive much criticism for their bodies; in fact, they receive praise because of how muscular they are. But as soon as a strong, empowered female is put into the limelight, they get criticized for their appearance instead of focusing on their athletic achievements.

Last week, two Fox News commentators discussed whether or not female athletes should wear makeup and needless to say, they had very strong opinions.

“I think when you see an athlete, why should I have to look at some chick’s zits r some guy’s zits on his face? Why not put add a little blush on her lips and cover those zits. I like to see a person win that gold medal and go up there and look beautiful,” Bo Dietl, commentator, said.

At least here Dietl is extending his judgment based off of appearance to both men and women, but then he continues and addresses the host of the show Tamara Holder’s appearance as well.

“Tamara, look how beautiful you are with that makeup. What do you look like when you crawl out of bed in the morning? I’d rather have you now, the way you look. You look beautiful, and I think it just enhances the beauty of that athlete,” said Dietl.

Whether or not these comments are directed to both male and female athletes does not matter. What matters is that people seem to care more about appearance than talent. If an Olympic athlete does not want to wear makeup, that should be their own decision.

The fact that people care so much about female athlete’s appearances instead of their performance is sad, especially when men just receive praise for both their muscles and their skills.

Overall the United States is working on making progress with equality between men and women, but it seems like this year’s Olympics have really shown how far this country has to go.