From: The Stream

Pretty strong: Redefining female beauty in sports

Body image pressures plague women athletes on and off the sports field.

Will powerful ever be the new pretty? This year Serena Williams won her sixth Wimbledon title, her twenty first major, and is one stop away from a tennis Grand Slam; yet chatter about her “manly” body and “abnormal” strength and unattractive looks continue unabated. Body shaming women athletes has long been a part of a professional sportswoman’s life, and balancing feminine ideals of beauty and ambition is a constant struggle. For a swimmer her strong upper body often means hiding arms in long sleeves. For a weight lifter muscular legs mean not fitting into standard size clothing. Some athletes are able to turn criticisms into self-acceptance, but others deal with eating disorders or feel forced to quit. On Monday we’ll speak to women from around the world, who despite their athletic triumphs, are still judged by harsh societal norms of “beauty.” Join our conversation at 19:30 GMT. 

On this episode of The Stream we speak to:

Neha Uberoi @neha_uberoi
Former professional tennis player

Zoe Smith @ZoePabloSmith
Olympic weightlifter

Naomi Cavaday @naomicavaday
Professional tennis player

Rachel Vickery
Former gymnast, physiotherapist

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