All great stories, all great women, so what?

Over the past three weeks, three athletes have shared their stories with you about what it means to be a female athlete (if you didn’t get the chance to read them check them out under “RECENT POSTS”). Three completely different women, three totally different sports, three different regions of the country; yet it’s easy to see the connection they all share in what it means to be a female athlete. All spoke to hard work, dedication, and never giving up. All spoke to how powerful of an impact sports has had on their lives and the impact it still has today. All shared a dislike for the color pink ALWAYS being associated with female athletes and female athletic apparel, and all expressed wanting more options. All spoke to the limited and un-relatable image of the female athlete and female body type in the media, although some feel that this image is improving in the 21st century. When asked what they thought makes a strong female athlete, not one of these women mentioned the words “pretty” or “thin.” They spoke to personality traits and mental abilities; they used words and phrases like “drive,” “mental toughness,” “courageous,” and “the will to overcome adversity.”

It’s not about getting rid of the color pink in female athletics all together, nor is it about getting rid of the image of the “thin and pretty” female athlete either. What it’s really about is expressing that female athletes come in all different shapes and sizes, and have different preferences, likes, dislikes: girly or non-girly; gay, straight, or bisexual; thick or thin; muscular or not; tall or short; and the list goes on. These women spoke to the powerful impact sports had on their lives and how they would love to see more girls and young women involved in some aspect of sport. By media and advertisements depicting the female athlete as the pink-wearing, thin, pretty girls, they’re severely limiting young girls’ and young women’s impression of what it means and what it is to be a female athlete. Depict us for who we are athletes, in all the packages that we come in.