The WNBA (The Woman’s National Basketball Association) is an American professional basketball organization consisting of twelve women teams which are active in the summer months between May and September.
The goal of the WNBA is to offer an entertaining brand of women’s professional basketball. All the dynamic plays (occasional dunking) that make the man’s basketball a spectacular are demonstrated by women’s professional basketball players. The jump shots, clutch plays, cross dribbles, three-point shots, suffocating defense, unique styles, and under the basket layups are displayed in a dynamic fashion.
Women Athletes: Largely Ignored
Yet the WNBA is largely ignored by mainstream sports media. Only in overseas play are women basketball players recognized. appreciated, and rewarded for the athletic entertainment they bring to the table.
Why are women professional athletes ignored in the United States? I believe the issue is an indication of how the American society views women. Women are viewed, inclusively by men, as sensual objects whose only function is to get married and bare children.
Fairy Tales: A Woman’s Place
This fixed mindset was established down through history. Fairy tales such as Cinderella, sleeping beauty and other stories portrayed women as weak and fragile. These stories helped establish in the minds of Americans what is called “a Woman’s Place,” so to speak. According to this interpretation, a woman belongs in the kitchen and in the bedroom.
Any professional image of women in sports is seemingly a joke. But in Europe and other western countries, women athletes are well-respected for their gifts. As proof, they are paid 10 times more than they are in the United States.
The average salary for top WNBA players in the U.S is a little over $100, 000 while in Europe the top pay could be well-passed a million dollars. There is a reason why the pay is so low in the United States: the teams are simply ignored by most mainstream media outlets as well as sports lovers.
Why Most Women Prefer Men Sports?
Even the great majority of women shun women basketball, opting to look at the men’s program instead. This preference seems confusion. Thousands of women, who advocate women’s rights, including the popular Oprah Winfrey, ignore the WNBA.
Why is this? Most women have been raised to see men as aggressors in American society. Men are warriors who go out and win battles. Women are homemakers who stay behind and wish men luck. It is an erroneous misconception that is hard to break.
The Road Forward: The Key to Success
But such mentality must be broken if the WNBA is going to overcome smallness and grow into a dynamic sports organization that can attract its equal share of men and women to the brand. The key to its success is to keep on persevering and the demonstrating new ideas. The WNBA is not looking for ideas that disrespect women and destroys dignity which some has suggested, but ideas that speak loud and clear that the WNBA is here to stay.
One of the greatest things that have occurred in the league is that the players have gotten much better since the inception of the league. Women basketball players have evolved to a point that they can rival their male counterparts when it comes to skill and performance dynamics.
Players such as Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Angel McCoughtry, Candace Parker and the incoming, dynamic Breanna Stewart will be the icons of the league. Sitting down and serious watching these young women play the game will change minds and convince the most reluctant fans that the WNBA is the real deal.
The Media and the Players: Unity
But how do you get these fans into the seats or even get them to watch? The answer lies in better, more aggressive marketing that involves unity between the major networks as well as the players. First of all, the media must no longer refuse to ignore the league, including major networks, newspapers and social media platforms.
The players must be put in the spotlight more often than they are now. Participating in community events throughout the offseason, doing commercials, spreading the message throughout the country must be a top priority.
Limitations: Yet Great Hope
Unfortunately, the players must make a living. They need to pay bills and take care of the family as well. Considering the meager pay of the WNBA, the majority of players cannot stay back and represent the league. Yet sacrifices must be made. I believe the league can be promoted to a level of acceptance that can rival the man’s game.
It is the responsibility of all involved to make a statement to the world of sports that the WNBA matters and that women sports are appreciated in the US. We must match the mentality of Europe regarding women’s athletic gifts and talents. The American sports world owes this to the WNBA. This is the bottom line.
The Road toward recognition and reward will be hard and long. However, ratings have drastically improved, individual players are receiving recognition and receiving promotional opportunties in the NBA and elsewhere.
But the most prevanlant thing happening right now is the leagues appeal to young girls and families. The positive vibes from the WNBA players provide hope for these young future players. Many of these little girls have dreams of growing up and becoming great WNBA players.