Can you promote yourself as a female athlete without selling yourself?

It’s no secret that millennials take social media very seriously. But nowadays professional athletes have a duty of care in the way they promote themselves via social media.
Athletes use platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to boost their image and share their stories, making them more attractive to brands, sponsors and viewers; not to mention bringing in extra dollars and credibility into the world of athletics along the way. Some athletes choose to do this with humility while others choose to use their physical appearance to attract an audience, rather than their athletic ability.
At the recent Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Hawaiian John Florence won a prize of USD$100,000. This came after Sally Fitzgibbons earned her 1st place winnings of USD$60,000 the day before. Both athletes surfed the same break, within the same conditions, at the same time. The discrepancies do not stop there. According to the most current Forbes The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes List the top 39 paid athletes in the world, are ALL men. With Serena Williams being the only female athlete in the top 87 of the list, coming in at #40.
Does this infuriate yourself, like it does the women reading this discovery? This begs the question: Why are female athletes less valued then their male counterparts? In almost every professional sport. Sexualisation, plays a big part.
Some women may feel the pressure because they are not receiving equal pay to men in the same sport. This can result in no longer viewing athletic achievement as a priority and distorts the perception of the female athlete, who then may choose then to use their appearance to gain social media presence and become more influential. This in turn allows them to earn more in endorsements and sponsorships, than relying on their performance in their chosen field.

Comparing social media statistics between the current #1 and 5-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore’s 466K Instagram followers, Alana Blanchard’s impressive 1.8 million followers, and Ellie Jean Coffee’s strong 784k followers. Why does Blanchard and Coffee’s popularity far exceed Gilmore’s? Maybe because the two are notorious for their faces seen in every Rip Curl or Billabong campaign (respectively) as well as their Instagram filled with selfies in glamorous, tropical locations. Yet neither compete on the WSL tour, placing a long way past 100th in the rankings, or are nearly as athletically gifted as Gilmore. A quick scroll through their feeds and you’ll notice a big difference, in comparing the current world champion, who’s feed showcases videos of her recent tubes and training sessions, the others choose to showcase the latest bikinis, captured at a strategic angle.

www.instagram.com/stephaniegilmore

 

www.instagram.com/elliejeancoffey

“Some girls are definitely self-sexualizing, they know what the market is and what gets the best response. In the culture of surfing, sex sells. They’re making a lot of money out of it.” Scott Atheron, Surf Coach, Manly Surf School.

This doesn’t apply to surfing alone. The current fastest women in the world, is Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica. After winning an Olympic Games in 2012 and being the current reigning world 100m champion, you think she would be a household name? With only 211k Instagram followers to her name, the world’s fastest female was paid US$60,000 for her world title win in 2015. In comparison to Mr Usain Bolt, undoubtedly the world most successful sprinter and known to almost all people who own a television, around the world. He attains 6.7Million Instagram followers, is number 32 on Forbes Highest-Paid Athletes list and for the same race, at the same championships was paid US -$120,000 for his 2015 World Title, in comparison to Shelly-Ann’s $60K.

This necessity for over exposure, it seems, is growing the gap for women in sport. Tim Wigmore, of NewStatemen Sport, has this to say about the matter. ‘’The roots of this discrepancy lie in the birth of modern sport, 150 years ago. Women’s treatment in sport has always been a manifestation of wider gender inequality and, as sports evolved and professionalised, became self-perpetuating. The huge funding disparity between male and female sport means that women have had fewer opportunities to play sport, have suffered from inadequate coaching and facilities compared with those enjoyed by men, and have been paid meagre sums, even for playing international sport. This has damaged the quality of sport.’’ 

 We are left with the issue , in this social media, millennial world, if women want to cover that gap, they must be perceived, first and foremost, as athletes and not as Instagram models. If sexuality is the main qualifier for popularity in women’s professional sport, then women’s sport will not be seen for what it is; a sport, rather than a glorified modelling industry.

AFL – Still a Man’s Sport?

This interview explores current topics surrounding Australian rules football with the introduction of the Women’s league for the first time this season. The main research found that the AFL has a large pay gap between men and women’s professional AFL players. The ABC provided the statistics that female players are being paid 125 times less than their male counterparts. The Australian also discussed sexism in the sport. Additional research showed that there was a huge difference for New South Wales and Victorian fans, between what matches were available on free-to-air and cable television stations, as well as additional coverage on news stations, both television and radio, and in local newspapers.

Australian Rules football has had a predominately Victorian fan base within Australian society. The introduction of the Women’s league created exposure nation and world-wide in bridging the quality gap between men’s and women’s professional sports. But the question is, is the AFL really doing enough to bridge that gap so women unlike men, must work alongside their professional football career in order to make a living? Recently ABC online provided statistics showing that female players are being paid 125 times less than their male counterparts. It was also made apparent in the AFLW’s annual report that an entire women’s AFL team cost less that an individual average male player.

To gain an insight, UTS Sports Media spoke to an AFL mega fan Clare in Sydney last week. She has this to say on the issue: ‘’ With it being such a massive thing firstly, to the women in the AFL league, I think they’re doing a fantastic job this season, with the introduction of women. However, there’s still a long way to go for women to have the same opportunities as men do.’’

The Women’s league certainly gained great exposure across the shortened eight-week season, the exhibition match, won by 19 points by the Demons, reached 1.1 million viewers who watched at least five minutes across Channel 7, 7mate and Foxtel. (Footywire.com.au statistics).

With so much exposure and fans barracking for their favourite teams, it would make sense that football would be a full-time job for the female athletes, like the men? Think again. The top two players of each team will get about $25,000 for the season, and then $10,000 for high profile players, and $5,000 for everyone else. You read correctly: These elite athletes will earn merely $5,000 for an eight-week season. All are expected to train about nine hours per week, plus pre-season. This seems incomparable with an average male player who earns just over $300,000 (ABC.net). This essentially equates to buying an entire women’s team for the cost of a single male player. It just doesn’t add up.

Clare voiced her concerns on this topic by saying, ‘’As a mother of a daughter, I am very excited by the fact that women’s league has been introduced. And by the time she’s old enough, hopefully those years would have provided enough time for it to have developed and become an equal opportunity. ‘’ The problem seems to lie with broadcasting rights to women’s matches, as that’s where the big money lies. It would be expected to take a few years before the broadcasters would pay rights to show women’s footy matches, according to AFL’s general manager of game and market development, Simon Lethlean.

As long as the women are paying the same game, they deserve the rights to be paid equally.

Below is what the public had to say:

AFLTwitter Poll

AFL Fb Poll

Interview and Slideshow

I decided to interview a very interesting man names Sundesh, from gym I train at following my technical glitch and got a great insight into how he firstly, migrated to Australia in search of asylum during a political coo, in Fiji during the late 1980’s in which he was a radio journalist himself.

Sundesh was captured by military and explained he was hung by the arms for three days straight, in punishment of reporting on what was going on in Fiji. He decided to flee his country, and sought help from a politician in Australia. He was able to secure residency and relocated after three months of correspondence.
Sundesh, went on to explain how he now thinks of Australia as home. And a country who provide him and his family safety, food and a sense of belonging during a time of need.
Sundesh explained he trained at the gym, we were currently at during his relocation to Sydney. But then went on to travel 127 countries in search of a story to write a book upon.

He is now 74 years old, and has found himself back at the same gym he trained at all those years ago. Vince and Roz’s gym is one of Australia’s longest running gyms, having been operating at various locations around Sydney since 1953.
Sundesh explained that having broken his back during his travels in New Zealand, physical therapy was the only thing that has made him as mobile as he is now.
He is happy to be back at his old training ground, having re-joined the gym Just two weeks ago.

This is what he had this to share with us, about his triumph over serious injury.

Your Real Meaning of Christmas

This holiday season, it’s very easy to get caught up in the commercialised side of Christmas, materialism and spending. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. I’ve seen so many people get so stressed about who they need big gifts for and how much they’re spending. Rather than simply, why we are buying gifts in the first place.

You can very easily Lose sight of what Christmas really means to you. It might be along the lines of. Family time. Reunions. Giving. Or The CHRIST in Christmas.


I would encourage you, this Christmas time to take a moment to simply think about what Christmas might mean to someone like this little girl. I had the joy of meeting in Cambodia. She may look happy, dressed and in good health. But she is Living in an improvised community. Her parents might not earn more than $AU 70c per day. Which is enough to get by, to put rice on the table. By Christmas would certainly look very different from ours.

I have no doubts, her smile would remain the brightest little grin; I’ve ever seen. Her attitude would still be carefree. She would not know the feeling of seeing wrapping paper and presents under a tree. Or a santa sack on the end of her bed.

Christmas might simply be another day to her. With added silly songs about a fat man in a suit.

These people are strong. Even though they live in destitution; they are happy with their simple way of living. They have enough to live and learn. And they don’t complain or think ‘why me.’ They do their best to provide a future for their families.  And realised they are blessed with what little they have.

I encourage you, and your family to never take your situation for granted. Some people are praying for what you have. And what you have, could very well be enough.

Take care, be grateful and be safe his Christmas and hold your loved ones close.

Optimism and the ability to control your mood

When nothing is going right, go left! 
When something goes wrong in your day. It’s incredibly easy to feel like you’ve lost sight of your goals, your regime or your week in general.
And it can be even easier to stress about it, wonder ”why me,” or curl up in a big ball of negativity. But it can also be just as easy to ”roll with it.”

It’s moments like these, where nothing has generally gone to plan. I have to ”breathe” and literally LOL at myself. And think: ”it’s not WHY is this happening.” It’s ”What can I do about it.”

You’re a beautiful ray of sunshine; with control of your life at your fingertips. Don’t let this one silly thing rule you or your day. 
Affirmations: I use these daily. Especially when I think things may have fallen to pieces.

Phrases like: ”I am strong, I am powerful, I can do anything.”Or ”I am the power. I control my destiny.” Emanate especially well, when emotions are running high and all you can think of is that little annoying event that’s blown up in your face. 

When you begin to radiate positivity with your mind. Your body will start to believe it! And you’ll magically feel less stressed, shaky or anxious. 
Deep Breaths. 

Your new diet has totally fallen to pieces? – Start again tomorrow.You’ve broken out right before a big social event?- Go treat yourself to a facial. You’ve had a fight with your partner? Hang out with your fam or your mates to distract you. 
If it’s something I’ve learned…. through all the times life’s thrown a surprise at me.

1) You’re never going to be given something you can’t handle. 

2) There’s always a way around things. 

And chances are someone close to you could be experiencing something similar. Don’t be afraid to admit it’s not all smiles and rainbows. 
Be Real with those close to you and share your feels. You’ll become closer for it and feel supported through it all.

You are your own power. Radiate good vibes and good energy will follow you.  

Women in a Wruck

Saturday November 12th, 36 Degrees, 4 Games of Rugby Union and a team of strong women, you wouldn’t want to mess with.

Sydney University Women’s Rugby 7s team, took to Campbelltown Showground in the annual ‘Harlequin 7s Tournament’ for the year. The stakes were high with a $2000 cash prize on offer, for the team to take out the five-game-tournament on the day.

Rugby 7s, is a modified traditional Rugby Union game. It only last seven minute halves, with a 30 second break for half time. The name also resonates with the fact there are only seven players, per side on the field at one time. Because of these changes, there are also changes to wrucks, scrums and how many people per tackle to ‘clear out.’ It is a much faster, more cardiovascular based game and some might say, much more entertaining

Sydney Uni were off to a fine start, with both their A and B teams taking out their first matches. The heat, the tackles and the Bindi patches soon took their toll on the women, as they both lost their second games.

For spectators, it was an exciting and impressive day of Rugby. The Women’s side had both NSW Samoa and NSW Fiji teams take the field. And the men had both an Australian 7s team and Australia Fiji team, dominate their side.

Eventually is was the Sydney Uni A team, victorious through to the semi-final match, only one game between them and the championship game. After a good start up 1 try on the Campbelltown Harlequins, Uni went down in an exciting match 1-5.

Every athlete who took the field should be commended on their perseverance, their effort and enthusiasm as players clearly left everything on the field this tournament. Next championship isn’t scheduled until February 2017. For more information about how to become a Rugby 7s player for Sydney University, please visit:  https://www.susf.com.au/

Hate created out of ignorance

A Victorian woman named ‘Laura’ took to Facebook this week to Publicly shame a so-called Sex offender, after witnessing what she called ‘disturbing and harassing behavior’ on public transport, in Melbourne. Since her post becoming viral, shared and commented by millions of people via social media over the last few days, with her seemingly feminist views voiced to aim to stop this behavior toward women. It was made clear, by hundreds of people who personally knew this man that he in fact was autistic and not in fact a sexual predator. Laura has since taken down her post, but did not set the story straight beforehand. She did not apologise for wrongly accusing this man, and promoting hate and abuse towards him, for his actions. She did not apologise for the vilification she created. She just left it, and that is what is not okay.

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Public transport is a great way to travel in a city. It is reliable, easily accessible and cheap. But you do encounter all different types of cultures, personalities, and abilities. This is what being tolerant is about. But Laura, demonstrated in her article that she felt responsible to protect another civilian, another female with the fear of her being harassed or sexually assaulted.  She felt he was such a threat to the public, in result the man’s face was splashed across social media in an explosive rant by Laura, as she claimed he intimidated four women on the tram.

By reading into just a snippet of the millions of comments, made on this post. It was made very clear that not everyone agreed with the woman’s claims. Some people wrote that the man was in fact a regular commuter on Melbourne trams who has autism and ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly.’

‘I have seen him on the same tram for years along Swanston and Elizabeth street,’ one man told Daily Mail Australia.

‘He exclaims and utter noises very suddenly at times and he does hover over people but he never touches anyone without asking.’

‘I don’t believe he singles out women in that regard either, he’s done it to me before and I have told him to leave me be politely and that he did.’

‘He likes getting high fives from folks, most people ignore him but at times they do give him one.’

 Another person pleaded with social media users to stop calling the man a predator.’This man was trying to get a woman to give him a high five and I know this man he has a disability,’ she wrote online.

It is clear with the backlash about Laura’s experience, that she mightn’t have encountered someone with a disability like this man’s before. Does that beg the question, that Australian citizens should be more worldly to understand that because someone behaves differently to what is perceived as behaving ‘normally,’ it does not make them a predator. It just makes them different to you. Which is more than okay.

Pictured below is an online post, via Facebook. In which a woman claims the viral post has led people to threaten violence on this innocent man.

 

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This is in direct comparison to Laura’s actual post, which is pictured below. Since discovering the man was Autistic Laura did not apologise but simple took the viral post down, after millions has already viewed and shared her thoughts and accusations.

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Moral of the story, know your facts before you accuse. Before you put it online for the world to see.