Do you ever wonder who brought all the “glam” to the world of female athletes? Well, there are a few chicks in history who changed the game and one of the most well-known one is Florence Griffith Joyner. She was fashion forward when it wasn’t even popular.
TV shows like SNL (Saturday Night Live) have traditionally made fun of the female athlete. Often played by a man, she was hairy, muscular and unattractive. Admittedly, I used to laugh at these caricatures. They were funny and played by comediennes that I love. Yet, through time, I had to eat those laughs because the image of the female athlete began to evolve.
Through the years, the look of the female athlete began to evolve and today, many are now considered to be fashion icons. Yet, these new female athletes didn’t get to where they are on their own. They owe a lot to the female athletes of the past – the ones who weren’t afraid to show a different face – an extremely attractive one. Who was one of the biggest influences? Track and field star Florence Griffith Joyner.
Florence Griffith Joyner was a runner who broke the World Record for the 100 meter in 1987. Her time was 10.49 seconds. She continued on for a majority of her life to be a star athlete, but one of the things that women like myself (and a lot of men) loved about her was her look. Florence Griffith Joyner was a beauty and had a style all of her own.
Florence Griffith Joyner’s look was unique in her day for a female athlete. Her hair was thick and flowing down her back. Her make-up was noticeable (red lipstick, dark eyeliner and red blush). And her nails – well – let’s just say they were multi-colored and longer than the average gals. Florence Griffith Joyner looked more like a Hollywood actress than a runner. She was totally glam in a field that was at times totally ho-hum. Yet, this gal could run.
Florence’s ability to run and look beautiful at the same time is what truly influenced female athletes. She didn’t have to buy into a stereotype in order to be taken seriously nor seriously compete. She was an individual and brought a lot of style to her career field of choice.
Sadly, Florence Griffith Joyner’s life was cut short. And, in 1998 she passed on, but not without leaving a legacy of beauty that is mimicked today by well-known female athletes like Serena Williams. Her willingness to be glamorous allowed people like Serena Williams to follow in her footsteps with less criticism.
So now when I see those old SNL skits with manly female athletes, I understand that they are just stereotypes. Of course, I still laugh. I laugh hard . . . But for the right reason.