Gender stereotyping in sport

Gender stereotyping is a common occurrence in sport, both at the grassroots level and elite sport. Sports in general are developed according to a more masculine model that rewards strength, speed and power.

We know the female body is entirely capable of demonstrating performances such as these at a high level, yet we hold onto traditional beliefs that a female should look a certain way and fulfill certain roles within society. We are seeing improvements in this approach, but the media still manage to reinforce these ideas of masculinity and a male dominated world of sport. We celebrate the manliness and ruggedness of male athletes, and admire their beautiful wives and team cheerleaders.

Clearly this can isolate certain individuals. Females feel pressured to maintain a feminine appearance, likewise males strive to fulfill society’s expectations around masculinity. How do you think the individuals who don’t fit these stereotypes feel? And who is advantaged by this approach?

The following article celebrates strength and size in female athletes. What I like about the article, is that it doesn’t bring up issues relating to gender stereotyping. Does this suggest that society are more accepting of muscular female athletes. Are gender stereotypes getting looser? While I think we are a long way off from seeing considerable change, it is nice to see an article that simply celebrates an issue that society still battles with.

This links well to AS 2.5 on My Study Series where we discuss societal factors in relation to a physical activity, event or festival.

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