We need to make women feel like they belong on the field


Staff Graphic by Kendall Wilson

We need to start normalizing women playing sports. Today, women still face backlash for their athletic capabilities, which has only been exemplified by social media.

In early December 2022, senior Bella Rasmussen from Laguna Beach High School made a major football achievement. She scored an NIL deal, short for name, image and likeness. This allowed her to market her name and image with brands, allowing her to receive compensation if a company decides to use her NIL. This was exciting as it further pushed a potential professional football career for Rasmussen, something many boys and girls all over the world dream of. Not only this, but she was the first female to ever accomplish this.

However, her celebrations quickly turned sour when she checked the responses on social media. Though she did receive some comments celebrating her success, it was hard to ignore the flood of hate comments claiming that she would never make it to the NFL, only received this deal because she was female, and overall was not deserving.

We know this to be untrue, however, because she has already made strides just in her high school football career. She became the first female football player to ever score two touchdowns in one game. This is no small feat, and it clearly shows that Rasmussen has immense athletic skill. 

So the real question is, how can we, as a society, normalize women playing previously male-dominated sports? 

So now the question is, why did Rasmussen’s post upset so many people?

I wish I knew. I do know, however, that the idea of a woman playing football is not normalized in our society. This isn’t necessarily any one person’s fault per se, but rather it is a new concept that many are not used to. So the real question is, how can we, as a society, normalize women playing previously male-dominated sports? 

 Sports empower people to take control of their lives and dedicate themselves to a team or individual craft. Being a part of a team teaches people of all ages to work together, create bonds and to put effort into something for an overall goal. Even for a non-team sport, it helps you prioritize something that you enjoy doing and pushes your mind and body to achieve a new goal, skill or level. These are extremely beneficial lessons to teach people of all ages, and the more opportunities there are for anyone, the better. 

It’s no secret that men’s sports are broadcasted much more often than women’s. Between the years 1989 and 2019, television coverage of women’s sports increased by only 0.5 percent. Adding up to a total of just 5.4 percent of women’s athletics represented across all airtime. 

It’s possible that without adequate portrayal of how talented women can be in the athletic field, people can often forget how well-deserved their accomplishments are. It’s important to continue pushing these frequently hidden victories into the spotlight. Not only to educate, but to celebrate, and make women feel like they belong on the field. Sports are for everyone, no matter what.