Sport and Sexual Regulation
• Debra Shogan notes in her book that there is a “heterosexual norm” in athletics and argues that gay men are invisible in sport.
• Due to the power of hetero-normativity, gay men do not come out or reveal sexual orientation until after retirement.
• Ex. NFL player Tualo didn’t want to come out because of risk of harassment from people and someone may try to attempt to
physically injure him.
• His story shows that high performance sport is something people do to create normative masculinity or even hetero-
normativity ideals that exist in society.
• Normative masculinity in high-performance sport mirrors attitudes/values found in patriarchal capitalist societies. Ex. Aggression,
competition, and accumulation of wealth Success.
• Sexual Regulation: sex and sexuality, like everything in society, are neither normal nor imaginative
• They (sex and sexuality) are regulated by social codes and mores (customs) which constitute our morality
• Morality changes over time and place.
• Morality is shaped by the mode of production in society. Influenced by political, historical and economical
• Abdel-Shehid says our society fears differences and privileges sameness. The constant production of sameness is creating a constant
denial of difference. So national sporting cultures produce normative insiders and outsiders.
• Normal is defined negatively as something that is not deviant.
• Being different is sometimes seen as a threat. Abdel-Shehid refers to this as disavowal.
• The fear of difference often results in hostility by those who think they are normal.
Policing people into being normal is one way power is maintained. We judge them as “deviant” or “freaks”.
• Foucault said that normalization : is the constant pressure to conform to the same model, so that they(people) might be all
like one another.
• Foucault also said society has a tendency to label everything. But labelling is not innocent as it is designed to make the idea of
“normal” as different and better than “deviant”. When people hear the word “deviant” they began to police themselves to be normal.
• Being labelled as deviant could potentially lead those people to harassment, violence and a threatened life.
• The constant attempt to produce normative behaviour greatly affects social morality, especially with respect to sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation is policed in various ways.
• By saying that you will get so many girls because you have nice eyes, you help reproduce the assumption that everyone is necessarily
attracted to members of the opposite sex. This comment normalizes heterosexuality.
• This is Hetero-sexist thinking: means we normalize heterosexuality and assume that everyone sees sexuality in the
same way. The other side is that homosexuality and Trans sexuality is deviant or
• When a boy hears the word sissy boy learns from dad that he should not act like sissy and creates an assumption that acting like a girl
makes one “deviant”.
• When a boy hears the word faggot he thinks’it is something deviant or something he should not become.
• Many of us see being a successful athlete as equal to being heterosexual.
• Shogan says the norm in high performance sport is to be masculine and heterosexual. Repetition of sport skills in men’s sports
reproduces notions of a male body as forceful and impermeable.
• Doing drills that render one “forceful and impermeable” makes it appear heterosexual and this produces sameness. They have
a normalizing effect since they help produce a division between normal and deviant behaviour.
• Drills help reproduce the idea that being a successful athlete means being hard or tough.
• If you don’t do drills, you are labelled as lazy or soft or feminine or fags or bitches.
• These name calling is a method of policing sexuality in sport.
Pg 5. • If gay’s came out in sport, they would disturb the very foundation men sport is built on.
• Seeing high performance sport as a normalizing institution, also explains why it’s tough for gay men to come out and for female
athletes to compete on men’s team are met with such hostility.
• So masculinity must be heterosexual, tough, active and not freely able to express emotions.
• So how does homophobia and heterosexist operate in women’s sport?
• It is due to a profound social anxiety or fear about women who are athletic, an anxiety with deep roots going back to issues concerning
the ideology of feminist.
• Firstly, this ideology meant that white women of upper class were stopped being seen as productive workers and seen as
housewives and mothers meaning they were less physical and less powerful.
• Secondly, the 2 pillar of white supremacist movement was that the more evolved races had to have a greater degree of
• These 2 ideas made the idea that there is a man’s world and that athletics is part of a man’s world.
• White women’s entry into sport was dealt with unease because there was a fear they would lose their womanhood as result.
• This fear gave rise to the myth that women who excel in sport are not really proper women.
• There was physical restraint. There was a fear that women who use their bodies in a physical manner would make them more likely to
be unable to control sexual desires.
• Thus the term mannish lesbian was formed.
• Women can compete in sport only if they show that they are sexually interested in men.
• In order to dodge this label of lesbian, women either stay away from sport all together or they perform a hyper femininity(wearing
makeup, high heels) when not working out in order to deflect labels.
• For some lesbian athletes, sport provided an outlet from a sharply prejudice society.
• It provided a subtle space for community, companionship, and the sharing of intense experiences.
• Audrey Hall (lesbian athlete) said behaviours that are categorized as Butch or mannish are valorized (cherished) in sports.
• Women’s Olympic Games a site of homophobic resentment and an opportunity for homosexual expression.
• Community sports team leagues of lesbian sports teams have emerged and they constitute a significant challenge to mainstream sports.
• Many gay men have entered high performance sport partly to prove that they are as many as their straight counterparts.
• When viewing gay men play tennis in their teams, the tennis club was not designated as a space to challenge normative masculinity
and its problems. It was seen as a place where normative masculinity was reproducing in a gay form.
Don’t be Gay, Dude: How the Institution of Sport Reinforces Homophobia
By: Kelsey Lucyk
• The Canadian state does not concern itself with matters that occur in bedroom but the institution of sport is heterosexist by
reproducing hegemonic masculinity, sport reinforces, naturalizes and institutionalizes homophobic behaviours.
• Kelsey is investigating institutionalized homophobia.
• There is no visible difference between gay and straight athletes, so when depicting gay athletes as erotic/oversexed, media presents
illustrates homophobia in sport by saying gays are not serious about sports or they just want to have sex with teammates.
• Sport is a place reserved for a man but author will demonstrate how sport sanctions only a hegemonic, heterosexual masculine man.
• Hegemonic Masculinity in Sporting Canada
• Sex= male or female and gender= masculine and feminine.
• Canada is a heteronormative society meaning they think all men are interested in women and heterosexism is assumed to be natural
because minority sexualities are actively repressed.
• Masculinising institutions ex. sport, allow men to move away from homo or feminine qualities and reproduce hegemonic masculinity. • Men are