The double standard applied to female athletes is an indicator of how little progress has been made in the realm of gender equality. I was very happy to see Danica Patrick finally get an Indy Car win. Auto sport seems like one area where the inherent physical differences between men and women could be evened out, and the sexes could compete head to head. Patrick has been criticized as not being a serious contender, because she isn't afraid to capitalize on the fact that she is an attractive woman when pursuing endorsement deals and marketing her racing career.
Why wouldn't the same criticism be levelled at David Beckham flopping around in his underwear? Or Michael Jordan, for that matter? In spite of all that has happened in the last 100 years, if you are an attractive woman, it is assumed that the only contribution you can make is as window dressing. If you do anything that isn't part of the regular program for a beauty pageant, you're tagged as either butch or an amusing novelty. It seems like most men are stil uncomfortable with the idea of a woman who would pursue anything more than a husband to make babies with.