P.W.P. (Playing While Pretty)


“Makeup (check), hair (check), oh and don’t forget to grab your lip gloss and throw it to the managers before warmups. You should probably bring your mouth guard too.”

Ladies, let’s be honest, we’ve all had a moment like this before. Female locker rooms aren’t solely a place to change, they are a place for you to prep to look your best, especially on game days. In my team’s locker room we are 100% about our business (winning games) and 75% about looking presentable while doing it (bare with me, I know these percentages don’t make sense but I’m sure you understand).

Now that I am a part of a college basketball team, I have realized just how hard it is to look “pretty”/presentable while playing my sport, and these days there is a lot of pressure too. Too often female athletes are idealized not because of their skill but because of their looks.

In my opinion, athletics is the one time females should not have to worry about how they look and yet we, as a society, have turned female athletics into another beauty contest. I mean think about it. You are running down the court, dive for a ball, and the first thing you think about when you get up is, “Does my hair still look okay?”

One of my teammates who is a Women and Gender Studies major always talks about apologetic behavior in female sports. An example of apologetic behavior in sports is when women wear makeup or very feminine accessories (sparkly headbands, ribbons, etc.) to make up for the fact that they are exhibiting aggression and power rather than passivity and submissiveness.

I myself, have exhibited apologetic behavior at times and if you think about it, you know at least one female who has too. Yes, girls want to be noticed for their skill, but not at the expense of their looks, and vise versa.

Growing up I watched Candace Parker, Elena Delle Donne and most recently, Skylar Diggins. These women, in my opinion, have mastered the idea of looking presentable and playing well. But the reason I write this post is not to highlight them. Instead it is to talk more about the women that find themselves in the middle.

At the end of the day, we all want to look presentable and play to the best of our abilities but we must keep things in perspective. Who are we really trying to look good for? Probably that person in your Chemistry class that you’ve been dying to talk to all semester but never do.

If they don’t like you when you look less than your best, then he/she does not deserve you at your best. So ladies, I challenge you! I’m not saying don’t put on lip gloss before games because I know I will, but don’t let your looks be one of the main things vying for your attention when you’re about to go to war in your sport. Just enjoy what you do; they say happy girls are the prettiest anyways!