Sports As Men's Activities

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Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Melanie Muise

Feb 28 • To explain why sports around the world have been defined as men’s activities, why half the world’s population has been ‘excluded’ or ‘discouraged’ through history, and why there have been dramatic increases in women's participation, we must understand Relationships between sports and beliefs about masculinity and femininity and homosexuality and heterosexuality Gender Ideology • Gender ideology is a set of interrelated ideas about masculinity and femininity • Gender is a socially and historically constructed set of power relations between men and women • Gender in sport maintains many taken for granted assumptions about masculinity and femininity • Gender is deeply rooted in our understanding about sexual identity Dominant Gender Ideology • Dominant gender ideology consists of prevailing “common sense” beliefs about maleness and femaleness • They are never established “once and for all time” • They emerge as people struggle over the meaning and organization of social life • Gender ideology from time to time and place to place: social construction • Ideologies of gender change and aren’t fixed or natural • Ideologies are rooted in relations of power in society • Ideals about what a female body should look like have changed over time – socially constructed values and meanings Participation and Equity Issues Participation by girls and women has increased dramatically because of: 1.) new opportunities 2.) govt equal rights legislation 3.) global womens rights movement 4.) Health and fitness movement 5.) increased media coverage of womens sports • Participation and equity issues: Structure and policy changes and ideological changes • Girls and women now see a wide range of sport participation images – this has encouraged dramatic increases in participation • During the 1980’s, symbolic changes were occurring as well. Uni’s abandoned femnized versions of mens teams names. 7 Reasons for Caution when predicting future participation 1. Budget cutbacks and privatization of sport programs 2. Resistance to govt regulations 3. Backlash among those resent changes that threaten the dominant gender ideology 4. Under-representation of women in decision-making positions in sport programs 5. Continued emphasis on “cosmetic fitness” 6. Trivialization of women's sports 7. Homophobia and the threat of being labelled “lesbo” • When cuts to a sporting budget are made, feminine aspects are the first to get cut Gender Equity Issues Gender equity issues exist when sport cultures are: • male dominated ( ie. The characteristics of men are THE standards for judging qualifications) • Male identified ( ie. The orientations/ actions of men are THE standards for defining what is right and normal) • Male-centered (men and men’s lives are THE expected focus of attention in stories, legends,
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