Gender Barriers in Sports
It is clear there are strides being taken towards equality in women’s sports, from Billy Jean King beating Bobby Rigs in the “Battle of the Sexes” to the policy known as Title IX. Every day we as a society make attempts to close the gap between genders. We know gender certainly does play a role in human nature, society, and even sports. But both genders, male and female, still face overwhelming barriers when trying to break into a sport that is not “known “ or “proper” for that specific gender to be participating in.
Gender barriers are certainly existent in today’s sports culture, such as “Women’s-only events” or “Men-only event” in the Olympics shows bias towards a specific gender role. In our society’s culture we conform to these traditional ideas, where women play the more “graceful” sports while men on the other hand pursue the more “masculine” activities. An example, why do we associate women with figure skating and synchronized swimming? Where men participate in the more brutal, contact sports like boxing and wrestling? Could it be from a preconceived notion, take for example the “Hunter and Gatherer”? To myself, I believe it’s nothing more than a socially constructed idea that this is how and what genders “do”. Like Judith Lorber stated in our reading “The Social Construction of Gender” everyone is just “doing gender”. Accepting these roles that our culture and society has placed on us, but this should not be the case. It should be based on athletic abilities rather than just gender.
Gender barriers arise many questions in multiple traditional sports as well. Labeling, both of men and women because of the sport in which they wish to participate in. A sport that might be “designated” towards a certain gender, this discourages athletes, male and female, from breaking though these barriers that have been set (Flanagan. 2008). An example is homophobia, being labeled as a homosexual, just because of the sport you choose...
References: Pickett M.W., Dawkins M.P., Braddock.J.H., (2012). Race and Gender Equity in Sports
Have White and African American Females Benefited Equally From Title IX?. American Behavioral Scientist, 56 (11) , pp. 1581-1603.
Flanagan, Kerry. (2008). Gender Barriers in Sport. Serendip Studio. http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exhange/node/2015
Lorber, Judith. (1994). The Social Construction of Gender. Paradoxes of Gender. Vol 1. Page, 113-119.
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