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Fit or Fat? How the Media Needs to Get a Grip

August 7, 2012

With the 2012 London Olympics underway, the women athletes have been faced with much scrutiny on their body images. According to Belinda Goldsmith for Reuters, “The 2012 Olympics have been hailed as the ‘Women’s Games’ for including women in all sports and from all national teams with campaigners hoping this will lead to more role models in sport and increase female participation in physical activity.” Although many of the female athletes have been subject to criticism in ways the male athletes never experience.

According to a Yahoo! Sports article by Belinda Goldsmith titled, Fat? We are fit. Get over it, say women athletes , she writes that “The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), a UK charity aiming to get more women into sport to build self-esteem and confidence, said only 12 percent of British girls at age 14 were doing enough exercise to meet recommended guidelines. WSFF Chief Executive Sue Tibballs said their research found negative body image was consistently cited as a barrier for girls participating in exercise as popular culture gave out the message it was more important to be thin than fit.”

How discerning at a time when women are making great strides recently with the number of medals won at the Olympics to the recent hiring of Marissa Mayer to Yahoo. Instead of having to battle the critics, we should be further empowering and supporting our young future of female leaders. Since you can’t judge fitness from looks alone, many of the top gold and silver female winners have been called out for being “fat” and not “looking as fit” as in years past.  It’s sad that in 2012 we still define beauty and femininity by small structures and feebleness.  Strong is beautiful and these female athletes don’t train to be pretty, they train to be strong.

I think that collectively as women we need to stop judging other women for the choices they make.Lisa Ling, 2010 Women in Leadership Summit keynote speaker

Do you think this bout of shallow criticism is coming from fearful men seeing women in roles of strength and leadership?

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