Female Athletes Inspiring Young Girls
Self-esteem, or lack of, is a growing concern among parents of young girls. Most adolescent girls define body image by looking at the mega-thin, made-up models strewn on glossy pages in magazines. How often in these magazines do you see female athletes throwing a football, competing in a marathon, playing soccer or preparing for a championship baseball game? Rarely, if ever, though studies have proven that girls who participate in sports have higher self-esteem, better body image, decreased anxiety and stress, not to mention the physical benefits.
But what does a female athlete look like? That's what Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like? – an exhibition of photographs showing the strength, determination, power and skill of female athletes – has set out to show girls and women of all ages. Sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group, including Oppenheimer Funds, Inc., Game Face opened at the Smithsonian Institution in June 2001 and traveled to 15 other cities through 2006. The opening attracted more than 400,000 visitors to see more than 100 color and black-and-white photographs showcasing the power of women.
iParenting Media Founder and Editor-in-Chief Elisa Ast All saw the power of Game Face at the Chicago Historical Society in Chicago, Ill. "Seeing so many photos – moments in time – of girls and women striving to do their best in the sporting arena is absolutely fascinating and inspiring," says All, who was given a tour of the exhibit by Jim McClure, a representative of Mass Mutual Financial Group, the event sponsor.
While it may be a while before muscles, sweat and jerseys replace svelte, makeup and hip-huggers, Game Face is a great start in that direction. "Game Face is an exhibit I will take my daughters – and my son – to so they can see, firsthand, that they can do whatever they set their minds to doing," says All.