Masculinity And Feminily In Sports Essay

779 words - 3 pages

Masculinity and Feminily in Sports

Traditionally, sports and athletics have been limited to males. Recalling as far back as the Grecian Olympics, public sporting events have afforded men both fame and fortune while women have been either completely excluded from play or forced to play under male rules. Until recently, male athletes and the general public have viewed successful female athletes as exceptions to the widespread rule that women cannot and should not compete along side men in traditionally male sports. Females who chose to be athletic were required to follow the examples of male athletes that were already established and accepted by both the sports community. Consequently, female athletes were confined to a narrow and rigid expression of physical ability. There were no female standards to follow until a few women were able to perform at or above the performance level of their male opponents. But the reactions these women received were a mix between awe and disbelief. The public was in awe because women were performing the physical activity that was thought to damage their reproductive organs. And as a result, the public was in disbelief because women were excelling in these activities. They had stepped out of the traditionally narrow playing field and defied the commonplace idea that women would hurt themselves if they engaged in physical activity. What is most important about these women is that they began to show the world that females could and should be involved in sports. But there was no female arena to play in. Consequently, they were forced to enter male sports and perform by male standards.

Once more women began to challenge these gender standards, the popularity of women’s sports grew. But the development of women’s sports did not happen smoothly or suddenly. The women allowed to participate and excel in sports that men did not already dominate. Tennis, for example, became very popular for women because it was not a traditionally masculine sport. Therefore, tennis was an unclaimed arena that provided the room necessary for the development of women’s sports. But there still were restrictions that women had to follow even in tennis. For example, women had to wear a skirt while playing. Women still had to follow traditional gender roles that required them to wear skirts, be ladylike, and god forbid, not to sweat. Although women were allowed to participate in sports, there were still...

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