The Gender of Sports
What are the social and cultural costs and benefits of an individual (male or female) entering a non-traditional sport for their gender/sex (e.g. women enter body building, power lifting, boxing; men enter synchronized swimming or field hockey)?
In today's society, particularly in the United States, an individual entering a non-traditional sport for his/her gender takes on many tasks besides playing the sport, the individual also takes on the criticism (good or bad) of people who play the sport and those who watch it too. There are many social and cultural costs as well as benefits, but to what extent mostly depends on the sport and the sex of the player.
The biggest thing that creates a social and cultural cost in the world of sports is change. People have a hard time coping with a change in the norm, especially when people are not welcome still to this day that women play sports. So as soon as a man/woman wants to do something different, there will always be controversy that will include harassment of the individual from sexual orientation to class, or simply what this change could do to the particular sport in the long run. A man entering a "women's" sport is very different than a woman entering a "man's" sport. There is more praise given to a woman entering a male-dominated sport and more disapproval given to a man entering a female-dominated sport. For example, when the ABL and WNBA, particularly when the WNBA, started up, many people questioned whether women could play professionally and handle the pressure of living up to the NBA. As soon as commercial ads came out for the WNBA league, it was done in a fashion to show that the WNBA did consist of straight women and it was not a league for lesbians. Even though basketball is not a traditional sport, the idea of women playing a men's game at the professional level was a big deal. So even before the league started, someone felt that he/she had to prove that not all aggressive female athletes are gay. It's funny, but in a sad way, that women have to prove their sexual identity, but the men's are never questioned.
The social and cultural costs of this intermingling of sexes starts with the genders that are tied to each sport, which then puts the individual's sexuality at question. If a woman enters a "male" sport she will be considered a lesbian and if a male entered a "woman" sport then he would be tagged with a gay identity. The player now has two jobs, succeed at the game and prove their sexuality, just like what the commercials were doing for the WNBA, proving the maternity of the players. Also, if an individual is of a different race or social class, then people tend to attack that side of the person. For example, some might say that the only reason why a person is good is because of their color or the only reason why someone has the opportunity is because he/she came from a wealthy background. Many people in today's society will find anything about...