Women, female athletes, competitors…

Hands up, who has watched some of the Winter Olympics?

Nice and high now.

Enjoyed it? Been in awe of the twists, turns, height, pace?

Me too.

I last went skiing two years ago on a school trip (see cover photo) and every year, around this time, I have withdrawal symptoms. Watching the Olympics has been a good antidote.

As the games are drawing to a close I have taken time to reflect. Here are two things that I think could be improved:

1. The squeeling and orgasmic coming from some of the commentators. Eurgh. Excitement yes, hearing your sex noises, no!

2. The way female competitors are referred to as ‘girls’.

Let’s focus on the latter.

This gets on my wick. My partner and I roll our eyes and grumble every time we have watched highlights of the games: it isn’t just at the Olympics we have noticed it. Watch any form of women’s sport and, more times than not, female athletes are referred to as ‘girls’.

Whilst some of those competing are technically still ‘girls’ – the amount of teenage success at the games has been astounding – most are not.

‘Girls’ makes them seem childlike, lesser somehow. Why not refer to them as women, female athletes or, here is a novel idea, remove the gender altogether: athletes; competitors; performers.

Male athletes are less likely to be referred to as boys; commentators opting for men or guys.

Women have a harder time getting the recognition they deserve; just look at how funding was cut from the GB women’s bobsleigh and given to the men’s teams: well that backfired didn’t it?!

Stop the use of ‘girls’ and use more appropriate terms; it could be a simple step to start to address the glaring gender imbalance in many sports.

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