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No matter the level of accomplishment, the media creates a struggle for female athletes with its hyper-sexualized images and endorsements. “In the media, we see women objectified and their bodies talked about more than their athletic ability, which is in our face,” said Valyncia Raphael, a former women’s softball player at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who currently assists with the NCAA’s CHAMPS/life skills and diversity and inclusion programming at the university. In 2008, MMA fighter and judoko pro Ronda Roussey took home a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing. As her gutsy reputation began to grow, Rousey began facing fights head on and defeating her opponents with her infamous armbar move. In 2012, after crippling former Strikeforce UFC Bantanman Champion Miesha Tate with her arm bar move, Rousey continues to reign in the octagon as the newest champion of the title. In no time, Rousey has become the new “it girl” of MMA Fighting. She is relentless, vanquishing her opponents with vigor and audaciousness. At 135 pounds, Rousey’s strength has not been defeated and the media cannot let her beauty go unnoticed. Her strikingness has also helped her land endorsement deals with XYIENCE, Metro PCS and UFC first smaller clothing brand. After ranking in at #29 on Maxim Hot 100’s List and gracing the ESPN body cover bearing all but the private parts of her sculpted frame, Rousey can be considered as one of the most captivating and sensual female athletes in sports history. Risque images of other female athletes like those of Rousey, posed in a bikini or wearing nothing but powder pink gloves with her breasts only covered by her blonde tresses are controversial because they conflict with the hyper-sexual limitations that many female athletes are working to crush. Samantha Edwards, a 24 year old rising professional track and field runner for Antigua and Barbados says, “Sometimes it’s not about the whole ‘sex sells’ thing, yes, it may sell, but at the end of the day, not everyone is about that. They want to know who the athlete is, what she’s accomplished and what she’s about. Focus on who that athlete is as a whole.”

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Out of Bounds Magazine Issue 2  
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