I’ll be damned if I wear makeup and damned if I don’t

Sarah Glenn interview: I'm damned if I wear makeup and damned if I don't - Telegraph/Dan Giannopoulos

Sarah Glenn interview: I’m damned if I wear makeup and damned if I don’t – Telegraph/Dan Giannopoulos

Sarah Glenn has a big college assignment due this summer. Between her performances in Ashes for England and Hundred for London Spirit, she will research the scrutiny female athletes face when it comes to body image.

First case study: herself. Glenn is known to England teammates as the one who brings ‘glamour’ to touring – including a nail bar – and is a self-confessed beauty junkie. But as accepted as she is by her team, she has come to understand that it also means that she will be undervalued, objectified and abused online for simply being herself.

Frankly, she’s tired of it. On International Women’s Day this year, Glenn posted a tongue-in-cheek video on TikTok of herself in front of a mirror, putting on her makeup before a game.

“The amount of men who are turned on just by women being themselves in sports is beyond me,” she says in the voiceover. “Girls just wear false eyelashes in their sport and men comment, ‘Why are you wearing it? You should be focusing on the game. Blah, blah blah.'”

He sarcastically adds, “You know what, I think it might be related: Because of this little bit of eyeliner, I think I’m gonna bake cakes in this game now. This little bit of focus time will definitely distract me from all the hours I I’m coached, early in the morning, the ups and downs of international sport or any level. For girls who are afraid to express themselves, I’m always here for you.”

Unfortunately, Glenn’s experience goes back more than a decade. When he started playing cricket with a boys team and was entering his teens, he coincided with his own experiments with makeup. Her teammates and opponents ridiculed her and told her she was looking for attention. “I’m just myself, but everyone would say, ‘Who are you doing this for?’ or “She just wants to be liked by guys, she’s there for the attention,” says Glenn, 23.

“These comments are flying around and I just want to play cricket! Do I have to look like a boy or not do girly things to not get those comments? sure when I was out there trying to perform. It continued until I started playing for England. It was a really difficult balance being the only girl in the team.”

Glenn is speaking on a sunny spring morning at Trent Bridge, where England open the Ashes with a five-day test in June – a record 55,000 tickets have already been sold for the multi-format series against Australia.

The Derby-born leg spinner sports a full England kit and a fresh coat of fake tan. His manicure is a clean white and he has a fine collection of silver rings and matching little hoops in his ears.

Her sense of style is a part of her every day, both on and off the court, and it’s also a part of her pre-game routine to calm her nerves. Glenn, who has played in three World Cups and is fourth on the ICC’s T20I bowling lists, says women’s cricket is the most acceptable space he has experienced in the sport, but the focus still remains on his looks. of him.

It mostly manifests itself online, where it has 120,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok. “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t,” she says of putting on makeup while playing cricket. “I do it to feel more confident, but people would comment, saying really demeaning things. Do you really think a layer of foundation is going to affect how I cast?”

Sarah Glenn interview: I'm damned if I wear makeup and damned if I don't - Telegraph/Dan Giannopoulos

Sarah Glenn interview: I’m damned if I wear makeup and damned if I don’t – Telegraph/Dan Giannopoulos

She is not alone. Less than 24 hours after winning the European Championship with England last summer, Ella Toone went viral for saying she was “really gutted” for not wearing her signature fake lashes for the occasion. Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith described the joy and confidence of experimenting with her makeup on race days, and she’s one in a long line of track and field athletes who have shown their style in competition.

Tennis player Coco Gauff told Telegraph Sport last year that while she’s on tour, she hunts down the best nail salon in every city she visits to update her intricate nail art. But evidence shows that women in sports are often taken less seriously simply because they embrace or follow beauty regimens that break the mold.

Because of this, Glenn is researching some of the worst examples of trolling elite sportswomen for her sports science degree, which she is doing through the Open University.

Aston Villa’s Alisha Lehmann, who has 12 million Instagram followers, faces abuse every day and has expressed her anger about it.

“When I looked at the comments on her Instagram, it really bugged me,” Glenn says of her research. “It’s about her looks. It’s demeaning and pretty sleazy to say she does it just for publicity. People think she doesn’t work or train that hard, because she’s too busy doing that kind of thing. People don’t realize how long does it take to put some lashes into it – not long anyway. I think she’s really strong, a classy soccer player and has style. It’s just sad to see she gets so much hate for wearing a couple milligrams of foundation”.

For Glenn, her England white ball debut was also marred by trolling, as she received derogatory comments about her size and for getting a manicure for the occasion.

He says women can’t win either way. “I performed well and was really excited but there were so many comments about how I look or how I rate myself – I felt a bit objectified. Don’t get me wrong, I see it happening in the men’s game – girls who post about footballers that they like, but I think they don’t get comments saying they’re doing it for attention, pretending I haven’t put in the effort to get to where I am. That’s the frustrating thing.”

Glenn has previously spoken about her ambition to potentially one day create an all-female gym, to help women who feel judged when working out.

For now, he will continue to address the issue publicly. “I just want to try and remove that stigma because I know there are a lot of girls growing up who might avoid being themselves in sports. It doesn’t have to be makeup, it could be anything, for anyone who doesn’t do what’s expected of them in their sport.

“I don’t want girls to feel like they have to fit into one category to participate.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *