Powerful AND Pretty: Defining the Female Athlete


In an interview with Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, Andrea Petkovic, a professional German tennis player, spoke about her insecurities as a female athlete. “…we’ve been judged more, our physicality is judged more, and it makes us self-conscience.”

Think about that for a minute. An athlete, once ranked as one of the top ten female players in the world, is worried about people criticizing her. And it’s not because she missed a point or lost a match. She’s concerned that she doesn’t look feminine enough. In the interview, she goes on to say “…I feel like there are 80 million people in Germany who think I’m a bodybuilder.”

There’s something wrong with this picture.

Women in sports shouldn’t be stressing about being perceived as un-feminine. They shouldn’t be worried about getting less media coverage because of how they look.

Female athletes are often given attention based on society’s opinion of their attractiveness. Their actual talent is secondary. Women who meet the world’s typical standard for “sexy” are looked at as a pretty face instead of a strong athlete. The photoshoots we see them in showcase their bodies, not their skills. Women who look or choose to dress less “feminine” are not featured in the media as much. Since they don’t fit the look, they aren’t regarded in the same way.

Men are praised for their accomplishments in sports and recognized for their talent. We know their names and faces because male sports are broadcast on mainstream television, whereas we are more likely to see female athletes on the cover of Vogue rather than competing on our TV screens.

Why is this?

Women, in general, have always been expected to look a certain way. In the world’s eyes, female athletes should comply. They are pressured into wearing certain apparel or skipping weights in order to keep a “feminine physique”.

The question I want to ask is... what does feminine physique even mean? Every single one of us is unique and beautiful. We can’t let the rest of the world decide what a female athlete should look like. If you want defined and muscular arms to play tennis, that’s okay! If you want to surf in your wetsuit instead of a bikini, that’s okay too!

Society is still failing to give credit to female athletes where it’s truly deserved. And that’s what we’re fighting for here at Too Pretty. Cary was told she was “too pretty” to be a woman in a “man’s sport”. Well to that I say, the joke’s on you, world!

Too Pretty wants to give a shout out to all the female athletes who have been judged for their looks rather than their talent and skills. We stand behind you, and we want to show the world that we are all strong and proud AND pretty. Looks do not define us. We are tired of having to constantly remind people to see our bodies not as something that’s “sexy”, but as something that we have worked hard for and are using to kick ass!

We want to hear your voice! Post an Instagram photo and tell everyone in the caption how you are conquering the world, not because of how you look but because of who you are. Don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag #nevertoopretty. Let’s keep this movement going strong!