Gender Expression Essay

1776 words - 8 pages

The text defines a phenomenon known as stereotype threat as the interference of an individual’s performance due to the pressure caused by fear of confirming a negative stereotype about their group’s abilities (Crawford, 2006, p.85). For example the stereotype that African Americans usually earn lower scores on standardized tests then their White peers may lead to Black students perform below average on their exams due to a preoccupation with confirming that stereotype. Both Bryana and Jordan reject stereotype threat while participating in their individual sports. Despite such traits being considered “masculine”, Bryana embraces aggression and physical strength and stamina in order to ...view middle of the document...

Normally crying is associated with female athletes, but not used to describe male athletes (Crawford, 2006). Surprisingly Bryana was not gender marked for her participation in soccer, for example her team and sport are referred to as “team” and “soccer” rather than “all girls’ team” or “girl’s soccer”. This is unusual as women’s sports are considered the “variation” and not the “norm” (Crawford, 2006, p.61).
Masculinity in sports can be a key part in gender identity and men in traditionally “feminine” sports must develop strategies in order to construct a masculine identity as seen a study by Caroline Chimot and Catherine Louveau (2010). The study addresses “how young men in a “feminine” sport- rhythmic gymnastics, construct masculine identity” through a series of five interviews (Chimot & Louveau, 2010). The participants consisted of five current or former rhythmic gymnasts, ages 10 to 23 with one to ten years of experiences. Each interview lasted 45 to 80 minutes and focused on the following: discovery of the activity, training and their relationship with other gymnasts, relationship to the body and masculinity, and conflicting relations with others (Chimot & Louveau, 2010). After analyzing the interviews, researchers addressed several main themes in constructing masculinity, Constructing Masculinity with Contradictory Identity References, Boys in a Women’s World, and Playing a “Feminine” Sport and Being Seen as a Man (Chimot & Louveau, 2010). Chimot and Louveau (2010) also identified three identity strategies used by the males interviewed: 1) Coping with the pressure of other men and violence, 2) Choosing a “masculine” sport over rhythmic gymnastics, 3) Asserting oneself as a rhythmic gymnast.
Much like the individuals interviewed in the study conducted by Chimot and Louveau (2010), Jordan encounters disapproval from the male figure in his life, Uncle Bernie, for his participation in a “feminine” sport like rhythmic gymnastics. Though like the gymnasts who choose the third identity strategy, Jordan enjoys what he does and asserts himself as a gymnast rather than choosing a masculine sport in the end. Of course Bernie’s eventual support is what solidifies this choice as he initially quits rhythmic gymnastics to practice basketball to earn the approval of his uncle; the gymnasts who choose the third strategy receive support from both parents. It is important to note that the gymnasts in the third strategy identify themselves as “men” participating in a “feminine” sport and set about overcoming stigmatization. In much the same way, Jordan never considers himself “feminine”, just an athlete in the sport. For him, like the athletes within the study, masculinity and gender identity are constructed based on relationships with their male family relations, peer group acceptance, and own perception of masculine and feminine traits as they apply to the sport.
According to the text social learning theory is “an approach that...

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