Lingerie Football League: Let’s Tackle the Inequality of Female Athletes

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Blessing Bunhu is a female football fan and a student at Humber College

Let’s kickoff by saying, in the sporting world female athletes are taking over this male dominating industry with extraordinary performance both on and off the playing field. These female athletes spend hours training and sweating to reach the ultimate goal of empowering and influencing the next generations of sports, and of course winning.

National_Football_League, one of the best football leagues of all time, in which a bunch of guys in tights tackle each other to the ground, has a notable fan base and makes millions of dollars per game. As a female football fan, I love watching Tom Brady and the New_England_Patriots play every season and hope that we make it to the playoffs which we always do. But I desperately need a reality check; we all do on the inequality of women in football.

As a feminist, I am all for calling out and challenging inequality and sexism in sports. Football is originally a male dominated sport. This sport is meant to represent the masculinity of male athletes. Legends Football League (LFL) also known as Lingerie Football League encourages women to play football. As a child, I loved playing football and watching the NFL with my friends and family. But whenever I watched the NFL, I had always felt insecure as an athlete because there weren’t any female figures who were playing football in the field.  Watching the LFL always makes me feel uncomfortable as a female athlete.

These female players are forced to wear uniforms that are marketed and sexualised by the league to attract more male spectators. Players are marketed as sex objects when they really want to be recognised as sportswomen or athletes. These amazing women are not just pro athletes; they are someone’s daughter, mothers and maybe your own neighbors. They loved football so much that they are taking up their free time just to play; they are doctors, lawyers or dentists by day, but sportswomen by night. Regardless they are not properly recognised by the public or represented in the media.

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What’s sad the most is that these women know that they are being objectified and they are ok with it. LFL is a great exposure for the athletes to go in the modeling industry. In a YouTube video promoting a “Women of the LFL” Playboy shoot, Tanyka Henry of the Philadelphia Passion said, “To be a great player in the LFL, you have to be willing to play both ways.”  The Legend Football League is degrading women, making them second class citizens in sports.

So how much do these athletes get paid in the league? Well … the honest truth is that they don’t get paid. Yes, these athletes work hard and tackle each other and even get hurt during the process, but they still don’t get paid or they get minimum wage. In fact to even enter the league, an athlete must pay a certain amount which covers some insurance.  “If we paid a dime to a player, we wouldn’t sustain a season of play,” says Mitchell Mortaza, the league’s founder and chairman.

We need a time out!

The highest-paid-player earned about $48.9 million. This  top earned male player  had a contract of $31 million signing bonus and $3.25 million roaster bonus. The NFL league revenue went up with the help of ESPN, Fox CBS and NBC.  When we are paying more money to male players than female, it discourages future female players to play the sport. In the sporting world, female athletes are dominating the male industry but they are still the underdogs of football.  It makes me wonder, why might these female athletes participate in a league that objectifies them? Why is that to get even near as much media consideration as men’s football that female athletes  need to do it half naked?

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