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Gender and Sports:


SPORTS IN SOCIETY: ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES Chapter 8 Gender and Sports: Does Equity Require Ideological Changes? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gender and Sports:

Sports in SocietyIssues and Controversies
  • Chapter 8
  • Gender and Sports
  • Does Equity Require Ideological Changes?

Participation and Equity Issues
  • Participation by girls women has increased
    dramatically since the early 1980s because
  • New opportunities Increased participation for
    girls women.
  • Government equal rights legislation In 1972
    Title IX of the Educational Amendment was passed.
  • Global womens rights movement Brighton
    Declaration pressured governments to create
    opportunities for girls women.
  • Health fitness movement Companies that produce
    sporting goods recognized that women can be
    serious athletes.
  • Increased media coverage of womens sports When
    girls watch women who are physically strong and
    competent athletes, it becomes easier to envision
    themselves as athletes.

Title IX is a US law stating that
  • No person in the United States shall, on the
    basis of sex, be excluded from participation in,
    be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
    discrimination under any educational program or
    activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Legal Definitions Title IX in the US
  • Title IX requires compliance with one of these
    three tests
  • The proportionality test Equity exists when a
    school has nearly the same proportion of women
    paying sports as women enrolled.
  • A 5 percentage point deviation has been okay
  • The history of progress test
  • Judged by actions progress over past 3 years. A
    practice of expanding its sport programs for
    female athletes.
  • The accommodation of interest test
  • Programs teams meet the interests and abilities
    of the under represented sex. Schools must

Title IX in the US has
  • Supported dramatic changes in the sport
    participation opportunities available to girls
    women since 1972
  • Evoked continuous resistance since it became law.
  • Demonstrated that laws and law enforcement do not
    exist in a social and cultural vacuum.
  • Demonstrated that when laws challenge the ideas
    and lifestyles of people with power, the
    legitimacy and enforcement of those laws will be

Figure 8. 1
Media coverage has changed how some people think
about women in sports. Media coverage makes women
athletes very visible now.
Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future
  • Budget cutbacks and the privatization of sport
  • Gender equity is often subverted by budgets cuts.
    They are vulnerable to cuts because they are less
    well established and have less revenue-generating
  • 2. Resistance to government regulations
  • Those who benefit from the status quo often
    resist legislation that mandated change.
  • 3. Backlash among those who resent strong women.
  • When women play certain sports, they become
    strong. Strong women as abnormal and they put
    down certain womens sports that involve strength
    and brutal body contact.
  • 4. Under representation of women in
    decision-making positions in sport programs.
  • As women sports became more important in high
    schools and colleges, men replaced female coaches
    and administrators.

Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future
  1. Continued emphasis on cosmetic fitness
  2. Trivialization of womens sports
  3. Homophobia and the threat of being labeled

  • Homophobia is a powerful cultural factor that has
    discouraged many girls and women.
  • Homophobia causes some parents to steer daughters
    away from sports considered lesbians.
  • Heterosexual men may use homophobic discourse to
    tease female athletes and control all women who
    are intimidated by it.

Gender and Fairness Issues in Sports
  • Inequities in participation opportunities
  • Often grounded in dominant definitions of
    masculinity and femininity in a culture
  • May be related to religious beliefs
  • Establishing legal definitions of equity is a
  • Support for athletes covers many issues
  • Women are underrepresented in coaching and
    administration jobs in sports

Title IX Categories of Support for Athletes
  • Access to facilities
  • Quality of facilities
  • Availability of scholarships
  • Program operating expenses
  • Recruiting budgets
  • Scheduling of games practice times
  • Travel and per diem expenses
  • Academic tutoring
  • Number of coaches
  • Salaries for all staff and administrators
  • Medical training services and facilities
  • Publicity for players, teams, and events

(No Transcript)
Coaching and Administration Reasons for
  • Women have fewer established connections and
    networks in elite programs.
  • Subjective evaluative criteria used by search
  • Support systems professional development
    opportunities for women have been scarce
  • (continued)

Coaching and Administration Reasons for
  • Many women do not see spaces for them in
    corporate cultures of sport programs.
  • Sport organizations are seldom sensitive to
    family responsibilities among coaches and
  • Women may anticipate sexual harassment and more
    demanding standards than those used to judge men

Access to Informal and Alternative Sports
  • Gender inequities also exist in player controlled
  • Girls and women may face greater access
    challenges than are faced by boys and men.
  • Boys and men often control access to these
    sports, and they control access on their terms.
  • Title IX does not apply to these sports.
  • Question Do the XGames reflect or perpetuate
    inequities related to access in these sports?

Strategies to Promote Gender Equity
  • Confront discrimination and be an advocate for
    women coaches and administrators.
  • Be an advocate of fair and open employment
  • Keep data on gender equity.
  • Learn and educate others about the history of
    discrimination in sports and how to identify
  • (continued)

Strategies to Promote Gender Equity
  1. Inform media of unfair and discriminatory
  2. Package womens sports as revenue producers.
  3. Recruit women athletes into coaching.
  4. Use womens hiring networks.
  5. Create a supportive climate for women in your

Figure 8.4 The Two-Gender Classification System
Girls and Women As Agents of Change
  • Sport participation can empower women but
  • This does not occur automatically.
  • Personal empowerment is not necessarily
    associated with an awareness of the need for
    gender transformation in society as a whole.
  • Elite athletes seldom are active agents of change
    when it comes to gender ideology.


Why Elite Athletes Seldom Challenge Traditional
Gender Ideology
  1. Women athletes often fear being tagged as
    ungrateful, man-haters, or lesbians.
  2. Corporation-driven celebrity-feminism focuses
    on individualism and consumption, not everyday
    struggles related to gender.
  3. Empowerment discourses in sports often are tied
    to fitness and heterosexual attractiveness.
  4. Women athletes have little control or political
    voice in sports or society at large.

Boys and Men As Agents of Change
  • Gender equity also is a mens issue
  • Equity involves creating options for men to play
    sports that are not based exclusively on a power
    and performance model.
  • Equity emphasizes relationships based on
    cooperation rather than conquest and domination.

Facing Football A Challenge for Equity
  • High profile football teams
  • Involve more players and more resources than any
    other sport team
  • Often promote a culture in which there is
    resistance to the organizational changes needed
    to achieve gender equity
  • Often are supported by boosters who do not want
    gender equity to interfere with how they have
    always done things

Changes in Gender Ideology A Prerequisite for
Gender Equity
  • Gender ideology is crucial because
  • Gender is a fundamental organizing principle of
    social life
  • Gender ideology influences how we
  • Think of ourselves
  • How we define and relate to others
  • How we present ourselves to others
  • How we think about and plan for our future

Gender Ideology
  • Gender ideology in the U.S. is based on a
  • two-category classification system that
  • Assumes two mutually exclusive categories
    heterosexual male and heterosexual female
  • Encourages these categories to be perceived in
    terms of difference, and as opposites
  • Leaves no space for those who do not fit into
    either of the two categories
  • Involves inequities when it comes to power and
    access to power

Facts about Gender Ideology
  • It is defined in ways that
  • Give some men more access to power while
    restricting the range of behavior among all men
  • Marginalize gays and lesbians by categorizing
    them as being out of normative bounds
  • Lead women to be more apt to push gender
    boundaries while men are more apt to police
    gender boundaries for themselves and women

Gender Ideology in Sports
  • Gender is not fixed in nature, so people often
    use sports to maintain dominant definitions
  • Sports often are sites for celebrating
    traditional ideas about masculinity
  • Sport images and language often glorify a heroic
    manhood based on being a warrior
  • When sports celebrate masculinity, female
    athletes often are defined as invaders

Gender Ideology in Sports Girls and Women As
  • Girls and women in sports often threaten the
    preservation of traditional ideas about gender
  • Through history, myths have been used to
    discourage participation by girls and women
  • Encouragement varies by sport, and whether the
    sport emphasizes grace or power
  • Being a tomboy is okay as long as traditional
    femininity cues are presented

Women Bodybuilders Expanding Definitions of
  • Competitive bodybuilding for women did not exist
    before the 1970s
  • There is a clear tension between muscularity and
    ideas about femininity in womens bodybuilding
  • Women bodybuilders may be perceived as deviant in
    terms of gender definitions
  • Women bodybuilders challenge traditional
    definitions of gender, despite commercial images
    that highlight heterosexual attractiveness
  • Women bodybuilders use femininity insignias to
    avoid being marginalized as they push boundaries

Figure 8.5 Gender ideology is changing but it
continues to create constraints on sport
participation for some people.
Gender Ideology and Double Standards in Sports
  • What would happen if
  • Mia Hamm beat up a man or a couple of women in a
    bar fight?
  • A high profile woman athlete bragged about having
    numerous sex partners?
  • A WNBA player had tattoos expressing strength and
    dominance on her arms?
  • The captain of the national womens soccer team
    was photographed with near naked men ogling and
    hanging on her?

The Challenge of Being Gay or Lesbian in Sports
  • Popular discourse erases the existence of gay men
    and lesbians in sports
  • Gay men and lesbians do not have the freedom that
    heterosexuals have in expressing their sexuality
  • Being out in sports creates challenges
  • Women risk losing social acceptance
  • Men risk physical safety and losing social
  • Most people in sports support a Dont ask, dont
    tell policy about homosexuality

Strategies for Changing Ideology and Culture
  • There is a need for
  • Alternative definitions of masculinity
  • Critically question violent destructive
  • Alternative definitions of femininity
  • Becoming like men is not the goal
  • Changing the ways we do sports
  • Focus on lifetime participation, supportive
    vocabularies, gender equity, and bringing boys
    and girls and men and women together to share
    sport experiences

  • Know the benefits of Title IX.
  • Know what the actual law of Title IX says.
  • How can an organization prove compliance of
  • What has caused women sports to be visible? Give
  • What are the effects of practicing homophobia
  • Title IX support of female athletes in what ways?
  • Identify ways to promote equity.
  • Is gender equity a mens issue?
  • What is gender ideology?
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