When I first saw the American swimmers video of Call Me Maybe I had to laugh at my first thought – They are such girls!! Wait!! I am saying that about Olympic swimmers?!! I remember back in the 70’s and 80’s when we questioned the true gender of the Eastern European swimmers. The conspiracy – were they women who were shot so full of hormones that they are now men OR were they men who were made into “women”? In either case, it showed how we thought back then – that women have to be turned into men in order to rise to the top.
The world records from those days have long been shattered by women and girls who are definitively female! And the femininity in sports goes beyond young gymnasts with sparkly make-up and hair. The trend of today’s Olympics are the mani’s and pedi’s sporting national colors and flags. (I think they do their nails more than me.) And check out the women in track and field. They are decked out! The hair, make-up, nails and jewelry – they look better than me when I go out! So much for the frumpy athletic look! These women are breaking records with style!
I heard somewhere that a European field hockey team was voted the hottest team. Field hockey?!! Wow – fifty years ago the girls on field hockey teams were far from being considered “hot.”
And what about that stereotype that female athletes are all lesbians? Remember that one? It seems like there are a lot of wives and mothers out there. Mothers competing at the Olympics! Women who took time off from training (working) and now are back competing at the highest levels. That sends a good message to women who want to cut back on work for a few years and then come back. That senior management or CEO position doesn’t seem that unachievable.
Oh, and a lot of the Olympic women are married other athletes. So are we changing the idea of how to land the hot guy? It’s no longer the boob job – go to the gym and do some weight lifting. Get some muscle definition!! A female weight lifter back in the 80’s did a commercial where she said – “Before I primp up, I pump up.” Is it time to bring back that commercial?
Personally I am really glad to see women who are lean with a lot of muscle definition. I like the look. They look strong and confident. They look like they have a good sense of who they are. I think they still look feminine. I remember being discouraged from lifting weights for fear that I would become bulky – because that is how men become. Well our female Olympians are definitely muscular but they are a far cry from the bulky mass they tried to make female athletes 40 years ago. Six packs are not just for the guys anymore!
It’s a good image to give girls – something to counter that wafer thin, surgery created look that is all over TV and magazines.
It seems our female athletes have shattered the stereotypes. They are strong, confident, assertive, competitive and feminine. I think they present a good image of who women really are and what we can accomplish. That is worth celebrating.
I want to recognize Karen O’Connor who is the oldest member of the American Olympic team at the age of 54! This is her fourth Olympics. She is in the extreme sport of Eventing (an equestrian sport, same one Zara Phillips competed in). I wouldn’t be surprised if Karen competed in Rio (unless my daughter takes her place!) Karen has been one of the first women to advance in a sport where men and women compete against each other. She has led the way for a lot of women and now it is good to see more women competing at the top equestrian levels.
There is one other Olympian I think we can all learn a lesson from and that is Michael Phelps. We live in a world where we are always under pressure to do more, to achieve more, to give more. There are a lot of people who for their own reasons want to see him continue to compete. But he says he is done. He is not letting others define what he is doing with the rest of his life. He came to this Olympics with his own goals and did not share them with the rest of the world. He did not let anyone else judge him against his own goals. I think that is the most powerful thing he did. He is taking control of his life and going to live it on his own terms, do what makes him happy. I hope we don’t see him all packaged and marketed in the future.
This year I am taking away something more from the Olympics – the importance of being yourself, of not letting stereotypes or what others think define you. The Olympians are going after their goals on their terms. They don’t let anyone else tell them they need to continue to compete or that they are too old to compete. Or that they had children so now their bodies can’t be top athletes. They don’t let “handicaps” stop them. It seems this year we have really broken the mold. Heck even Queen Elizabeth finally let her sense of humor be shown.
To date the US has 81 medals, 47 of which were won by women!
Lashinda Demus’s twin sons my have come up with the new Olympic chant:
Go Mommy Go!!
Super Congrats to Misty May and Kerry Walsh!! Moms three-peat the Gold Medal!! What a contrast to Micheal Phelps – he just had to train – they trained, got married and had children! Wow what does that say about women?!!
Misty and Kerry are true empowered women!!
P.S. – Don’t forget to leave your comments!