Did you know that forty percent of teen girls do not participate in any sport, whereas only twenty-five percent of teen boys don't participate? Also, by the onset of puberty more than half of girls will have quit playing sports for good. Many things impact why girls often quit sports, the biggest reason is that they feel they don't belong in sports (Women's Sports Foundation). As I was growing up, it was the opposite for me. I felt like I belonged in sports and in sports only. This attitude and feeling can be credited to many people, including my dad and my sisters. Alex Morgan sticks out to me, however, because she is one of many women in the spotlight today acting as a role model for all young girls. She works hard to advocate equal pay for female athletes, draws attention to all girls in sports to encourage participation, and supports organizations and works to create her own.
Prior to the World Cup, Alex Morgan and her teammates had already been advocating for equal pay in women's and men’s sports. After suing the world soccer federation for discrimination against different genders, the women showed that they were not going down without a fight. “The victorious American women's team will get $2 million in winnings from FIFA, the international body that oversees the World Cup, while the American men's team got $9 million for placing 11th” (Isidore). Alex Morgan was fighting a battle that could threaten her career. The soccer federation could have responded negatively and suspended the team, but Morgan was brave enough to take that risk. Oftentimes, businesses want to work with people who are compliant and non-controversial, and by speaking up about equal pay, Morgan was taking a risk by deterring potential employers because of the frequency of her name in the news. However, Alex Morgan was not fighting this battle for herself; she was fighting it for all women in professional sports, calling attention to the inequities. In an interview, Morgan acknowledged the progress she and her teammates have made: “We’ve been able to see that we can use our platform to speak up about important issues, we’re authentic to who we are and what we stand for, and we’re becoming more brave and comfortable in our own skin” (qtd in Novy-Williams). By having a woman in the media actively fighting for a cause such as this, many people, especially young girls, are exposed to strong role models, which is very important and necessary for our future female leaders. Oftentimes in books or shows, the role of the strong, athletic person is a male character. From the beginning of their exposure to media and society, girls are not seeing a person they can associate with themselves. Alex Morgan has written a children's novel series, now turned show streamed on Amazon, called The Kicks to try to change that norm. Exposing young girls to athletes of their same gender and experience paints a picture that they, too, can belong in sports. A high school sophomore described what this book meant to her: “This book has shown me that no matter what hardships I face in my career, if I follow my heart and do what I love, I can overcome anything” (Jensen). Molly Jensen's account of this book is exactly what Alex Morgan looked to achieve in writing these novels: to inspire and encourage young girls to stick with and play sports.
In addition to speaking up and using her voice, Alex Morgan partners with many organizations to get the message across to young women. In a recent partnership with Always and their “#likeagirl” campaign, Morgan stresses the importance of playing sports beyond just the physical benefits, but the emotional and mental ones as well. Having a platform is one thing, but then using different platforms to reach a wider audience is taking the next step. Sponsoring a brand that sells menstrual products targets all women but also reaches an audience of girls at a transitional stage of their life. Morgan doesn’t only partner with other brands, she is also working on creating her own. After the World Cup in an interview with Bloomberg, Morgan stated: “Men’s sports are always in the spotlight, we’ll be focusing on women in sports and sharing the stories that I think a lot of people want to hear, and girls need to be given access to” (qtd in Novy-Williams). Along with supporting girl-oriented companies, Morgan is also pioneering her own.
Named in Time magazine's top 100 most influential people, Alex Morgan inspires people all around the world. Using her platform wisely, she advocates for equal pay, encourages the participation of young girls, and supports and creates organizations for a greater cause. Having someone to look up to is key for girls in sports. Sometimes it comes from a parent at home, but more often than not the parents do not see sports as an important piece in their child's life. For the longest time women were given a path to follow behind the man. Having movements like "#metoo" and demands for equal pay in the news exposes these ideas to all women that they don't need to sit down and be quiet anymore. Alex Morgan is one of the many strong women redefining what society thinks a woman should be and is a hero for girls everywhere.
Duncan, Katir. Jamie Smed, 2016, www.flickr.com/photos/highwaytodistraction/47100872094/in/photolist-
Isidore, Chris. “Women World Cup Champs Win Waaay Less Money than Men.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 7 July 2015, 11:17 am, https://money.cnn.com/2015/07/07/news/companies/womens-world-cup-prize-money/
Jensen, Molly. “Alex Morgan's 'The Kicks,' from a Young Player's View.” Equalizer Soccer, The Equalizer, 30 Aug. 2013, https://equalizersoccer.com/2013/08/30/alex-morgan-the-kicks-book-review/
Duncan, Katie. “Alex Morgan.” Alex Morgan, Jamie Smed, 2016, www.flickr.com/photos/highwaytodistraction/47100872094/in/photolist
“New York Times.” New York Times, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/sports/us-womens-soccer-pay.html.
Novy-Williams, Eben. “World Cup Star Alex Morgan Looking to Launch Female-Focused Media Venture.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 18 July 2019, 2:40, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-18/world-cup-star-looking-to-launch-female-focused-media-venture.
“Teen Sports in America.” Teen Sports in America, Women's Sports Foundation, 2018, www.womenssportsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/wsf_2018_tsr_share5.png.
Wallace, Kelly. “More Respect for Women's Soccer after World Cup Win?” CNN, Cable News Network, 10 July 2015, www.cnn.com/2015/07/06/living/feat-womens-soccer-victory-uphill-struggle-equal-recognition/index.html.
Wallace, Kelly. “How to Keep Girls in the Game after Puberty.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 June 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/health/girls-sports-puberty-likeagirl/index.html.
Page created on 1/10/2020 4:02:05 AM
Last edited 1/30/2020 8:54:26 PM