Women in Sports Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1509 Words
Date:  2022-06-19


In the contemporary world, the number of women taking part in sports has been on the rise. Some sportswomen have produced sterling performances, writing their names in history books. Consequently, they have helped to remove the stereotype put on women in sports as feeble beings who are unable to produce outstanding performances. Since the start of the 20th century, many sportswomen have graced different fields of sports. For instance, Charlotte Dod produced outstanding performances between 1900 and 1970, while Serena Williams is still a dominant force in the tennis competition. This paper seeks to compare and contrast experiences of Charlotte Dod and Serena Williams using intersectionality theory, significant contributions of both athletes, factors that impacted their recognition, their accomplishments, and assessment of their adherence to social norms.

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Comparison and Contrast of Athletes' Experiences using Intersectionality Theory

Charlotte "Lottie" Dod is a renowned tennis player who is considered to be the most successful female athlete of her generation. According to Wagg (2017), she began her career when female athletes were few, a situation that made her subjected to feminist remarks from the dominant male gender in the society. Moreover, her tender age made her face discrimination from her older opponents and references. In one incident, as Williams (2014) explains, officials requested her to cede to her opponent the first point per game. These discriminatory practices collectively acted as hindrances to her career achievements.

Serena Williams is the most successful tennis player. Maxwell (2017), however, elucidates that despite her success, she has faced a lot of discrimination throughout her tennis career. She has had to battle with both racial and sexist forms of discrimination. Despite her achievements, many people, including commentators, have described her or gestured at her as a black woman. In addition, she has had to endure abusive words from rival fans and commentators who have likened her to a man based on her physicality. For instance, many people have compared her to a man, an animal, or horrifyingly unattractive. In particular, some fans have likened her to a gorilla based on her color as well as when she grunts when hitting the tennis ball.

Achievements that Make Lottie Dod and Serena Williams Significant

Lottie Dod won a major tennis tournament at a tender age of 13, defeating a 23-year old veteran Maud Watson, who had had 55 successive victories before the match between her and Dod. According to Wagg (2017), Dod went ahead to win the tournament for three consecutive years while displaying sterling performances such as the defeat of Hillyard in a match that took 35 minutes. Dod left tennis briefly and later returned after three years and instantly made an impact, winning women's singles title for three years in a row. In the early 1900s, she joined golf and reach semi-finals for in two straight years before becoming a golf champion in 1904. It is also prudent to highlight that Lottie Dod later participated in the 1908 Olympics in the archery competition and received a silver medal.

Serena Williams, on the other hand, is considered as the greatest ever tennis player due to had a glamorous tennis career. She has won many Grand Slam competitions comprising seven Wimbledon titles, three French Open championships, seven Australian Open trophies, and six US Open titles. Moreover, she has 14 women's doubles titles as well as two in mixed doubles. According to Ifekwunigwe (2018), she is the only tennis athlete irrespective of the gender to win six singles titles in three Grand Slam tournaments. She has also been named the best athlete of the year 2015. Furthermore, Serena has earned four gold medals at the Olympics and four awards as outstanding Laureus Sportswoman in 2003, 2010, 2016, and 2018, among other titles (Iso-Ahola & Dotson, 2016).she has also won various accolades such as BET sportswoman award, NAACP Image Award, Glamor Award, and so on.

How Race, Gender, Ethnicity, Social Class Impact Recognition of Athletes

Charlotte "Lottie" Dod was a white woman who dominated the tennis game as a teenager. She came from a wealthy family that helped her establish an outstanding reputation in the tennis game. Her parents build her and her siblings playing ground in the backyard that she used to sharpen her skills in tennis. Consequently, she was able to outsmart her competitors in the game which made her a renowned household name in the game (Wagg, 2017).

Serena Williams, on the other hand, is an African-American tennis player who has conquered her opponents in the tennis game to become the best tennis female player on the planet. She has however suffered racial abuse as some people have likened her to a monkey and baboon. These racist comments have watered down her glittering career as some people have failed to give her credit for her achievements. It is also worthy to note that her gender has played a part in her recognition in the tennis game. Through her physical power and strength, she has redefined the game of tennis for women. As Leonard (2014) describes, she has athletic ability and sheer power which overwhelmed her opponents on the court. Her father, Richard Williams, was a great tennis player, a situation that positively impacted on her career since her father trained her rigorously for two hours per day.

Reasons for Celebration of Serena Williams and Charlotte Dod

Both Serena Williams and Charlotte Dod produced sterling performances in their career fields thereby receiving much-deserved praises. It is imperative to note that Dod was a versatile sportswoman who conquered her competitors irrespective of the sports she participated. For instance, she became a champion in tennis four times, defeating veterans in the game (Wagg, 2017). She also reached two consecutive semi-finals in golf before clinching the ultimate prize in 1904. Moreover, she won the 1908's Olympic silver medal in an archery competition. Thus, people celebrated her based on her outstanding achievements in sports and not her beauty. On the same note, Serena Williams is presently celebrated for being extraordinary in a tennis court. Some pundits credit her for redefining the game of tennis by incorporating power and skills in the game. She has had a decorated career that spans for two decades in which she has won all major awards and recognition available for grabs (Ifekwunigwe, 2018). Many fans and media houses recognize her as being the best tennis player to have ever played because of breaking many records as well as garnering many prestigious awards. She has been ranked as the world's number one tennis player on eight different occasions.

Assessing if Serena Williams and Charlotte Dod Adhered to the Social Norms During their Time

Charlotte Dod adhered to the social norms that existed during her time as a player as she wore the attire required of sportswomen. The existing social norms forbade women from wearing sporting outfits that exposed their bodies, a custom she embraced. Similarly, Serena Williams has adhered to the existing social norms on and off the pitch. However, there are instances where she defied the social norm of the game, a situation that made her be heavily fined. It is essential to pinpoint that in 2009, she had an outburst with a lineswoman in which she threatened to jostle a ball down her throat. Currently, Serena holds the record for the most fined player in tennis sports history (Leonard, 2014).


Even though men have dominated sports, there have been exceptional women that have had their names written in history books for their contributions and achievements. These women have had to conquer barriers that include racial segregation, age discrimination, and gender bias among others. Charlotte and Serena are two athletes whose theatrics in the game cannot be understated. Charlotte conquered all her competitors in tennis at a tender age. Irrespective of the type of game she participated in, she was a thriller to watch, and she won various accolades during her time. Similarly, Serena has won many accolades and endorsements, which has made her the best female tennis player of all time. Despite her achievements, she has had to endure racial discrimination and sexist remarks from rival fans and a section of the media. Thus, it is imperative for relevant stakeholders to come with stringent regulations that impose punitive measures for propagators of discriminatory practices against women in sports.


Ifekwunigwe, J. O. (2018). 'And Still Serena Rises': Celebrating the Cross-Generational Continuities of Black Feminisms and Black Female Excellence in Sport. In The Palgrave Handbook of Feminism and Sport, Leisure and Physical Education (pp. 111-131). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Iso-Ahola, S. E., & Dotson, C. O. (2016). Psychological momentum-A key to continued success. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1328.

Kovalchik, S. (2015). Grand Slams are shortchanging women's tennis. Significance, 12(5), 12-17.

Leonard, D. (2014). Dilemmas and contradictions: Black female athletes. Out of bounds: Racism and the black athlete, 2(1), 209-231.

Leonard, D. (2014). Dilemmas and contradictions: Black female athletes. Out of bounds: Racism and the black athlete, 209-231.

Maxwell, R. (2017). Racial equality in France and the United States: media coverage of professional tennis players. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(4), 656-674.

Wagg, S. (2017). Sacred turf: the Wimbledon tennis championships and the changing politics of Englishness. Sport in Society, 20(3), 398-412.

Williams, J. (2014). A Contemporary History of Women's Sport, Part One: Sporting Women, 1850-1960 (Vol. 3). Routledge.

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Women in Sports Essay Example. (2022, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/women-in-sports-essay-example

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