By Arielle Follett

Complaints have been made for years about the over-sexualization of women’s sports. Issues have been raised by advocacy groups everywhere about the uniforms women wear, the media’s portrayal of female athletes and the fact that women are not taken seriously.

To put it simply, women are not considered equals.

This issue always becomes more prominent coming off the Olympics.

We all saw how the media zeroed in on the beauty of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters after the pair won gold and silver in the freestyle skiing competition in Sochi.

And who can blame them when even the girls’ parents do so?

“Look at how beautiful they are. Look at these wonderful girls,” said the girls’ mother in a story written by the Toronto Sun’s Steve Buffery.

“Yes, look at them,” he followed.

This sexism can also work against female athletes like Lolo Jones, a talented American bobsledder who just so happens to be very attractive.

Jones has been accused of stealing a spot on the team with manipulative use of social media, posting seductive pictures on Twitter of herself in the skin-tight Team USA bodysuits.

However, Jones has an FIBT World Championship gold medal under her belt.

Is she really undeserving?

During British snowboarder Jenny Jones’ bronze-winning performance in Sochi, BBC commentators – a mix of men and women – behaved immaturely, wishing bad luck onto the competitors and more.

While waiting to hear the final scores, a male commentator said, “I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine.”

“That’s not your pulse, Ed,” a female commentator replied.

This part of the commentary made few articles.

It was not newsworthy because it’s common, just not usually this brazen.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not arguing that only women are sexualized in sports.

Puck-bunnies exist for a reason and I heard many women commenting on the attractiveness of Canadian goalie Carey Price and figure skater Scott Moir.

A quick Google search for the “hottest Olympians” will find you equal amounts of men and women.

Athletes are celebrities to us. Their sport is a performance we watch for entertainment.

Musicians and actors are judged for their appearance constantly. They are not respected for their skill.

When we’re already putting athletes on a pedestal with performers, why would we treat them any differently?

We need to start treating all performers – athlete, musician or actor; male or female – as what they are: a human being who deserves respect. They should not be sex symbols first and athletes second.

These people have a skill which they have chosen to share with the world.

We should congratulate and celebrate the person for this. They are doing us a service by entertaining us.

We should just be more thankful.