During my career as an athlete, I have made it a priority to be seen as "feminine" but not "sexy". One reason this is so important to me is that I take the privilege of being a role model very seriously. So, I want to send the message to young girls that being athletic means "you are strong and able to do anything"; rather than, "having an athletic body means you can use it to get attention from boys". One of the ways I do this is by making sure my clothing is not revealing parts of my body that don't need to be seen by others while I am participating in an activity, either because those parts are flashing out or because my clothing is so tight that it is highlighting those parts in a "sexual" way. Also, when I climb in tight shorts or pants, I always wear a chalk bag as a an additional layer of "modesty" over my possibly exposed butt. It may seem like a small thing, but it's the small things that add up to big messages when others are watching. As a young athlete, I certainly watched female athletes around me very closely to learn "what it meant" to be a girl and be athletic.
On the other side of the coin, though, I struggle when I see talented female athletes in any sport sexualizing themselves (in the way they pose, in the clothes they choose, in the image they portray...) in order to get attention, instead of focusing the attention of others on their accomplishments. I am not here to judge these women, just to raise the question to everyone who is or who knows a female athlete; Do we really need to sell our bodies as sex objects as the ticket to getting the attention we deserve as female athletes? Or, can we get proper recognition for being athletes...strong, talented, FEMALE athletes, without that? And, what does our answer to this say to impressionable, young, female athletes who are watching us as their role models?