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Images of women in sport, and the cultural ideals of women have moved somewhat synchronously through time. As notions of women’s roles and perceptions of women change, so too did the portrayal of female athletes, and the acceptance of female athleticism into cultural norms. Likewise, as women began breaking the gender barriers in sport, the perceptions of women’s roles changed and the change in portrayal and perception, led to increased acceptance of women as athletes.
In the documentary on women athletes, there were images of women who were strong competitors and driven athletes that were competing more with society’s expectations and limitations on them as women, than they were with other competitors in their given fields. They faced images of women as weak, passive, and domesticated. These images led to the fallacies that riding a bicycle would damage women’s reproductive systems, that it was unladylike to sweat, and that even something as non-competitive as pushing a baby carriage “freed women too much.” It was these perceptions of…