Gender and Sex Norms in Sports
In our society there are costs both socially and culturally for individuals who choose to violate their own gender and/or sex norms. We live in a time when, though great advancements have been made, gender roles are still differentiated out from each other with specific behavior and lifestyle expectations built into our value system and ascribed to individuals. The past decade has seen a growing move away from such distinct male/female expectations, however in areas such as sport the differences and problems that still exist in our gender ideology are much more visible. Though we are aware of these differences and can discuss them in a class environment (such as we did the past four Wednesdays) it is questionable how much we can do to change what exists. Norms and values are very much a part of our society and it may just take time to reverse thousands of years of the oppressive gender distinctions and role identities, which have come to exist so firmly today.
The 20th century was a reaction against the past. So much changed in one century it is almost impossible for us today to understand what it was like just 100 years ago. 100 years ago, Victorian ideals were entrenched into every day American life. Women represented everything private and domestic. Everything about them was shrouded in a cloud of restrictive ideology- even their bodies were hidden behind layers of uncomfortable clothing. Men dominated the public sphere. They were fierce, competitive, and in charge of the world. Women were not allowed near the public sphere. In terms of sport, women were kept away from any type of physical activity. Their domain was anything domestic. Domestic tasks kept them busy and away from the world. It wasn't competitive and it wasn't fierce. Needless to say, through this system of norms and values, women were kept and made to be submissive.
Things changed though, with technology. More and more it was necessary for women to work and become involved in the public sphere. Out of circumstances they were becoming fiercer, and more competitive. This challenged the traditional roles women were required to fill and gradually, women fought back. They began to reclaim themselves and their rights- not just in the domestic or private sphere, but in a public realm as well....