Believe it or not, the life of a female athlete is much more difficult than that of a male. This is not only due to the lack of opportunities attributed to the grassroots level, but also to sexualization. England’s U19 women’s cricket were the latest victims of vicious sexism.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) posted pictures of the U19 women’s team on Wednesday before they depart for the historic ICC Women’s U19 World Cup in South Africa on 14 January. All were in her teens, some as young as her 17, all smiling before her first mega cricket tournament of her career.
Little did they know, their photos received comments ranging from requests for Instagram handles, advice on entering beauty contests, and complaints about hairstyles. One user also zoomed in on the photo, circled her on one of the cricketer’s faces, and asked her whereabouts.
Most of the comments on the post were positive, and good luck, but some of the negative ones followed a similar pattern.
“The comment drew sharp criticism from netizens. I’m disgusted by some of the reactions to this post. In what world is it okay to sexualize women? In what world is it okay to sexualize children?” Are you okay?” wrote the journalist.
“As a mother of one girl I had to stop reading the comments!!” Shelly Mari Heap, who claims to be the mother of one cricketer, wrote:
Another journalist tweeted, “Absolutely disgusted by the continued sexualization of female athletes, especially on this platform. The latest is the gathering of U19 players. Infuriating on so many levels.”
Sixteen nations will compete for the first U19 Women’s World Cup trophy in South Africa from 14-29 January. In addition to 11 full ICC members, five Associates from Indonesia, Rwanda, Scotland, UAE and the United States will participate. England are in Group B along with Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
England U19 T20 World Cup Team: Ellie Anderson, Hannah Baker, Josie Groves, Liberty Heep, Niamh Holland, Lyanna McDonald Gay, Emma Marlowe, Caris Pavley, Davina Perrin, Lizzie Scott, Grace Scribes Sophia Smale, Selene Smale, Alexa Stonehouse, Muddy Ward.
Non-travel reserve: Emily Charms, Charlotte Lambert, Bethan Miles, Jemima Spence, Mary Taylor.