Sports participation and scholarships opportunities for all women athletes, including colored women has increased due to Title IX. However, there is still work to be made for women of color to gain equal representation and opportunities in athletics. In the textbook, ‘Women and Sports’, Ellen S. Staurowsky introduces emerging sports by defining it as, “NCAA Institutions increased women’s sports opportunities, but these increases have primarily been witnessed for white women and thus: have resulted in limited increases in participation rates for women of color” (Staurowsky, 101). Athletic women of color have been restrained from sport opportunities and limited on Title IX. The following paper discusses the challenges women of color go through when participating in a sport.
Women of Color V.S White Women
Due to Title IX having limitations on colored women, these women faced criticism, inequality, lack of support and high social expectations rather than white women. According to the textbook, Women and Sports, it demonstrates an example on how an African American tennis player known as Serena Williams is faced with criticism and lack of support. Serena Williams had a tournament match with Kim Clijsters, a white Belgian tennis athlete. As soon as Serena entered the stadium the crowd began to boo loudly. Throughout her match, the crowd taunt Serena and cheered when she made errors. After Serena won the match, the crowd was upset and made negative remarks when she was receiving her award. This illustration establishes how race and ethnicity is still an issue and society values more the Caucasian population. White women receive more privileges than colored since their economic background is much higher. These women are provided additional resources, opportunities and advantages because of the wealthy communities they live in. According to the article, ‘Where Girls Are Missing Out on High-School Sports’, the National Women’s Law Center researched low-income schools that had fewer resources for extracurricular activities. Stating, “40% of heavily minority schools have large gender gaps in sports participation, versus just 16 percent of heavily white schools”. Resulting in, white women having more advantages than colored females due to their wealthy communities and economic background. Lastly, colored women are compared to white women’s body figure and are judge because it does not meet the social expectations. Society expects all women to look a certain way, but reality is everyone’s body figure is different. Colored women are looked down on negatively because their body may resemble ‘manly’ and/or they have ‘muscles that are big’. Which can result in, society viewing colored women masculine and white women feminine.
The media has high expectations on how a female’s body image needs to look like. However, colored women continue to face unfair and even violent treatment by society. In regard to the Time article, ‘Kareem Audui-Jabbar: Body Shaming Black Female Athletes is Not Just About Race’, it gives an example on Misty Copeland the first African American woman to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre who was judge based on her body figure. When Misty was thirteen, she was rejected from being a ballerina due to not having the right body. The rejection letter indicated, “You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length and bust”. On top of that, society titled her as too masculine and mature. Causing Misty to feel a public pressure for not being feminine and not looking like societal expectations. Previous studies in the, Densely of Lean Body Mass is Greater in Blacks than in Whites article reports, “blacks have 10-20% more bone mineral than whites of the same height”. African Americans tend to have different body figures because their lean body mass is denser than white Americans.
Numerous colored women athletes are constantly faced with unpleasurable challenges. The barriers women of color face when participating in a sport consist of – economic limitations, societal stereotypes and cultural barriers. The economic challenges these women go through has been highly influenced by economic inequalities and disadvantage in their communities such as low-income schools. For adolescent girls they may have additional responsibilities at home where they need to take care of their siblings, need a part-time job, limited transportation and/or low-income. Another barrier female of color face is gender stereotype. These women have to constantly prove their womanhood because they are being stereotyped as masculine. Reason why some sports provide sex verification (sex testing) to see if they identify as a woman. Lastly, cultural barriers as in – language, religious traditions and clothing. For instance, Muslim women are prohibited from body contact and require covering while playing sports.
After I completed my research on women in sports of a specific race/ethnicity I was very upset on how many hardships colored women go through while entering a sport. The information of the topic was not new to me because I experienced discrimination when playing volleyball on a dominate white population team. However, reading the limitation on Title IX was very disappointing. Not many-colored woman receive the respect, acknowledgment and credit for simply being a great athlete. They are continually being discriminated by their race and ethnicity causing them to struggle with low opportunities and resources provided to them. In my personal belief, there needs to be improvement with this issue in order to gain equally for colored women in sports.
Women’s participation and scholarship opportunities has risen when Title IX took place. However, there needs to be an improvement in regard to women of color. Woman of color are lacking in limited opportunities to join sports because of the challenging barriers they face.