Women face more than just this, they are also were forced to be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to sports. Here the male chauvinism is evident in the difference between the kind of recognition male and female sportspersons get. This can be seen as a reflection of the deep-rooted patriarchal attitude even in our society where a boy is celebrated for simply playing while a girl is expected to be an ace of a sport. Sports and sportspersons are no different. Every single female athlete faces a huge weight of patriarchy and sexism, which is inevitably attached to her name and it becomes her identity. Yes, it is great that we have women who are professionally playing football, cricket, badminton, or wrestling but the sad fact remains, they will never be celebrated the way their male counterparts are.
The fact is that women’s participation in sport has changed drastically due to the patriarchal society ingrained in us since childhood. From an early age, women are taught to be submissive to men and confined within the boundaries set by society. They are told that sports can mature them from a young age to keep their minds from wandering into forbidden territory like politics, religion, etc. The Feminist theory to this day claims that the patriarchal society has made a concerted effort to hold women down in a series of areas. It is not only the case with sports when it comes to women’s lack of recognition. In these aspects of life, the women in question have to be accepted by society for their feat and not be punished and criticized for it.
If a woman manages to win even one Grand Slam title, she still has to work nearly forever to earn the same amount of money that her male counterpart earned for winning just one. Even today with equal prize money in Wimbledon, the Female Winners of the Grand slam get only 40% of the amount as the male winners. Several female tennis players dedicate most of their careers to the sport and end up retiring empty-handed. This is not just because women do not have as much time in their careers to practice and score points. Rather, it is because of the discrimination that women face that male sports stars get a bigger cut of the total income. Women are given lesser prize money for winning in equal prize money tournaments.
But there is one significant difference in their lives as it’s presented to us. The other biographies are written by men – for men. Rarely is there a woman treating these male cricketers as subjects of her interest, seldom from the female gaze? The point is not only that the media should report on women’s sports as it does on men’s, but also that they should report on their individual lives. We know nothing about the female cricketers – they seem to be faceless and nameless. Only once in a while does one hear their names, and that too because of some controversy or other. Until a few years ago, women sportspersons were just abstract ideas in the public domain. There was never any direct contact with them. We knew only the men who represented us and cheered for them. Or rather, we cheered only for the men and hoped that some of their luck would rub off on our women at some point.