When Will We Finally Stop Commenting on Women Athlete’s Bodies?

March 8, 2022

Athletes are public figures, and their bodies are foundational to their jobs. It’s easy to home in on aesthetics in order to make sense of how athletes do what they do. But while body composition certainly plays a role, it’s just one of many physical factors. Aerobic capacity, power, strength, muscular endurance, biomechanics, strategy, tenacity, and good genes—none of which are necessarily visible to the human eye—all determine an athlete’s ability. And yet, especially with women athletes, appearance often becomes the sole focus, even when it has nothing to do with performance. This overemphasis on what athletes look like is damaging on both an individual and a cultural level, and it’s time to reconsider how we talk about their bodies. Outside Online