A Controversy in Sport: Women’s Sand Volleyball Uniforms
Beach volleyball is more than sun, sand, and bikinis. It’s a sport that requires access to knowledge and resources that are necessary to understand and play the game competitively. Athletes train year-round to perfect their craft and their bodies in order to compete at the top level. It does a disservice to the sport to simplify it to women in skimpy uniforms. The debate over women’s beach, or sand volleyball uniforms is a reflection of societal gender roles and values. Embedded within society are gendered stereotypes and ideals that define how women should look and act during competitive play. However, society has fought for women’s rights and equality among genders. The achievement of Title IX was used by the media as a mechanism through which society could publicly talk about women’s bodies.The emergence of volleyball as a recreational activity in 1895, has since led to the development of numerous, profitable organizations and opportunities for women’s athletics. The achievement of Title IX and its impact on women’s athletics, has allowed for sand volleyball to be an emerging collegiate women’s sport. However, much of this success has been tainted by the media’s portrayal of women in sand volleyball. Although an issue for the AVCA and FIVB, women’s bikini uniforms are not a problem for the athletes themselves. I do not think that William Morgan would have expected volleyball to go from a businessmen’s recreational activity, to an expanding, organizationally-run, multi-surface, globally played, profitable entity that it has become today.