Sports Stereotypes Essay

2719 words - 11 pages

In today’s society a popular stereotype is that women and men who participate in sports traditionally associated with the opposite gender are gay or lesbians. The problem people have with these women and men is that they are playing male/female-dominated sports such as basketball, softball, cheerleading, soccer, or even track, which do not allow the women to portray their femininity and men to exhibit their masculinity. This ideology that women who participate in these sports are masculine discourages parents from allowing their little girls from participating because these stereotypes have been around for so long. Parents also shield their male children from being taunted for their participation solely due to the same stereotypes. Many of the reasons people believe these stereotypes are true is because in society at large there are athletes that do fit the stereotypes. Though it may have some negative consequences for heterosexual athletes to be "harassed" as homosexual, the situation is much more serious for the homosexuals in sport. In Norway, for example, none of the highly competitive homosexual athletes, either female or male are "out of the closet" or openly identifying themselves as a homosexual. It is understandable that the reason for this is that it is just too difficult for them because of the social pressures. However, it may have a variety of detrimental effects on their health, because they must consistently "hide" their sexual identity. You would think that the stereotype would have changed by now because of the evolution most sports endured but this is not the case.
Athletes must form alliances with one another to ensure their acceptance amongst each other. Many of the athletes at The University of Oklahoma believe that these well-known stereotypes are false. The University of Oklahoma Women’s basketball player Kaylon Williams says, “I believe the stereotype is false. Being included in the stereotype that all women who play basketball are gay is hard when I am not. Not even close. There is a big pool of women’s basketball (players) that are gay but just because a woman choses to play a man sport doesn’t make her gay. Look at it this way, if a girl is already ruff around the edges and might already have some gay mannerisms; she is not going to go be a dancer or a gymnast. They are going to go for the more physical sports such as basketball, softball, and track but no not all of us are gay.” It is observable that it emotionally hurts the girls who are assumed to be lesbian because of their sport when they just have a love for the game. Another athlete at The University of Oklahoma has an input to say on the topic. Softball player Jules Townsend says, “Back then it was true that most women who played hardcore sports were gay. Anymore the girls who play sports are more feminine than they traditionally were but because they play in the dirt they are assumed to be gay because they are acting like boys. It was said that if you did not...

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