Women Athletes Getting All The Wrong Attention

   By drodriguez  Nov 13, 2009

It's not every day that women's college soccer makes the news, but when it does it usually involves reports of a teammate losing her temper and behaving agressively during the game.  Recent accounts of University of New Mexico's defensive player Elizabeth Lambert's violent play on the field have been widespread on all the media outlets.  The way in which the media is handling her actions has also ignited a national debate about how female athletes are treated and the double standards that exist.

A recent article from the New York Times puts a spotlight on this type of treatment women often receive.  Elizabeth Lambert can be seen on numerous viral You Tube clips shoving, pulling hair, elbowing, and kicking opponents.  She has offered apologies for her actions and has since been suspended from the game for her violent outbursts.  But many are still left wondering what the big fuss is about.

It is not unusual to see physical roughness among opponents in college soccer.  Former coach of the United States men's national team, Bruce Arena, reports in the New York Times aticle about the double standard placed on female athletes.  Arena says, "Let's be fair, there have been worse incidents in the game than that.  I think we are somewhat sexist in our opinion of sport.  I think maybe people are alarmed to see a woman do that, but men do a hell of a lot worse things.  Was it good behavior?  No, but because it's coming from a woman, they made it a headline."

Many argue that women are held to a different standard in sports because they are supposed to be the nurturers and caregivers.  Anytime the media gets a glimpse of aggression in female sports it is seen as entirely wrong and taken to the next level. 

The reports of Lambert's actions that appear to place a double standard on women's sports are just one of the ways the spotlight is wrongly cast their way.  Lambert's actions have also been spoken of sexually on a number blogs and on television programs.  David Letterman's The Late Show recently showed a clip of Lambert's actions while voice over was heard portraying the incident in a sexy way.  Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Pat Griffin, explains why the media often sexualizes women in this way, "It isn't about women's soccer and how great its players are.  It's about titillation, about sexualizing women in a catfight, that weird porno-lesbian subtext: let's watch two women go at it."

What do you think of the way Elizabeth Lambert's violence on the field was portrayed in the media?

Do you think there is a double standard for women in the world of sports?

Make a Comment

sarahgal by sarahgal | new york, NY
Dec 02, 2009

As a sports marketing executive, I think gender should be taken out of sports. Th WNBA plays basketball. They may play a different game than the guys, but they still play ball. If you look on women sports thru prism of gender, you will be prisioner of gender....I said this while at WTA Tour as people commenting on whether it should be 'women's' tennis or just 'tennis'. Its about performance whether man or women in competition. And there will always be the bad behaviour of those who are jerks....on or off field.

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Nov 18, 2009

Well first I was out raged by the way this woman played unfairly. I 16 year old daughter players AAU basketball and I would really not appreciate any one handling my child that way. I think that the clubs should have better standards on this type of activities to prevent it and discourage the player from participating in this behavior. Then maybe we want have a story to tell.

h2ocrazy by h2ocrazy | WINTER HAVEN, FL
Nov 17, 2009

Bad behavior related to sports is running rampid, not only at the college or professional level but think about your local sporting events - except it is not usually the children acting poorly, it is their parents! We wonder why children grow up to do things like Elizabeth Lambert.....

kearaj by kearaj | PLYMOUTH MTNG, PA
Nov 17, 2009

Either way, man or women, should not be conducting themselves in that way. If a man would have done something along the same lines, the publicity would have been just as crazy. I do agree with women being treated differently in these circumstances though. If you were to compare professional sports, basketball for example, you hear about NBA plays carrying guns, getting into fights on the court with other players and even coaches. Players get away with paying, a small fine. If the same thing were to happen in the WNBA, there would be fines, and that player would probably be removed from the sport or her team indefinitely. With men, somehow there is always a way to keep things quiet. The most disappointing part of all of this is that it was at the university level. College/University athletes are some of the biggest role models for young people, particularly girls and for something this disheartening is ridiculous.

mooremaline by mooremaline | COZAD, NE
Nov 16, 2009

People both male & female should not act this way in a sport and I think coaches and schools should not let things get so out of control that a player can continue to act like that and still play our country loves the violence... But as for double standard I looked at that hair pulling as bad as a facemask in football in every sport there are penalties for unsportsmen like conduct for both men & women

JEM4612 by JEM4612 | HOFFMAN EST, IL
Nov 15, 2009

I think there is a double standard for women's vs men's sports, but to say that Lambert's behavior shouldn't have been punished because there is a double standard is ridiculous. Clearly this is a pattern of behavior for her, not a one time incident.

Alyssarae92293 by Alyssarae92293 | BOYNTON BEACH, FL
Nov 14, 2009


jlincon71 by jlincon71 | san antonio, TX
Nov 14, 2009

I agree that both sexes should be punished and not allowed, but it happendes and when men do i think us as the audience expected to from men and make it ok, but when a women does it, it's not expected and us as a society make a big deal out of it. i don't agree with that but thats the kind of society we live in.

momagarry by momagarry | MILWAUKEE, WI
Nov 14, 2009

That is sad:(

s029898 by s029898 | Ravenna, MI
Nov 13, 2009

I would have to agree. I don't think that it is appropriate for either sex to be displaying these types of behavior. Sometimes I wonder where this stuff comes from!

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Nov 13, 2009

Men or women should not be conducting themselves this way. BOTH sexes should be punished and this type of behavior should not be allowed in any sport. And, to the men that think this is "sexy" and "titillating".....wow....we really haven't advanced that far from the cavemen days, have we? To even say or think that way is unbelieveable to me.