"A costume born of patriarchal forces": athletes slam 'sexist' Nike kit

 Nike's US women's track kit.
Nike's US women's track kit.

Nike recently caught flack from athletes and fans alike for its new US women's track team kit, which many criticised for its skimpy appearance compared to the men's alternative. The uniforms of professional female athletes have been a hot topic for some time and the good news is that things are changing – the bad news is, it's happening too slowly.

Unfortunately, it's not the first time that a sports kit has caused controversy (cast your mind back to the England football kit debacle) but Nike's latest flop points to a deeper issue in the sporting world. Whether it's the blatant sexism that many claim, or simply a severe design oversight, it's clear that things need to change. One thing's for certain, female athletes aren't afraid to make their voices heard.

In an exclusive post by Citrus Mag, the debut of the official US track kits was met with instant backlash. American track and field athlete, Tara Davis-Woodhall commented "Wait my hoo haa is gonna be out", in reference to the kit's minuscule front portion. Joining the debate, women's running brand Oiselle playfully suggested that the kit resulted from "When you run out of fabric after designing the men’s kit…"

The controversy came to a head after American runner Lauren Fleshman posted a scathing response to the kits in an Instagram post. "Professional athletes should be able to compete without dedicating brain space to constant pube vigilance or the mental gymnastics of having every vulnerable piece of your body on display," she says. "This is not an elite athletic kit for track and field. This is a costume born of patriarchal forces," Lauren adds.

While other athletes have noted that track runners are given various options to wear when competing, the question still remains – why design such a seemingly impractical kit in the first place? It's important that athletes like Lauren are speaking out against gender inequality in women's sports as it will hopefully bring us towards a more equal future.

For more design controversy, check out the cancer charity billboard that was banned by the ASA. If you're after some positive sporting news, take a look at the New York Jets logo that's got fans rejoicing.