Nevertheless, gender battles are still occurring, particularly in the sporting industry, which remains male dominated. Female sport has been given much notoriety over their uproar in the past decade, but is finding in a male controlled industry it is difficult for women to receive help from governing bodies.
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Female sport is marginalised compared to male sport, largely due to the sexualisation of the athletes themselves. We see in Australia the sexualisation of sports like Netball, where women in the ANZ Championship wear skin tight, short dresses to play, making it appealing to male audiences. We often see at the Australian Open, similar length dresses or skirts that leave little to the imagination.
Venus Williams sent the media into frenzy in with her skin colour underwear visible as soon as she moved around the court, to which she designed herself Eurosport Tennis uniforms are becoming a fashion statement more and more every year, which is always judged by the media when someone wears something even slightly risky or sexy. Who could hold that against Anna? In these competitions, females wear very little, going down to the bare minimum. Pictured below is an image of the Lingerie Football League, clearly the uniforms Lingerie Football League Anna Kournikova leave little to be desired, but are used to entertain to a male dominated audience.
These sports are both considered to be female sports in their own right, but we also see the sexualisation of women in male sports, particularly in professional sides in the form of cheerleaders.
‘The promise’: anti-sexism, hetero-sociality and wider inclusivity through sex-integrated sport
However it is creating an unrealistic image of the perfect female athlete, they are not judged by how good they are at hitting, catching, shooting, running or jumping, but by how much they can get paid for taking their clothes off. Caple, Greenwood Lumby Another cause for concern over female sport is that professionally they are not getting anywhere near enough media coverage and money as their male counterparts. The chart below shows the volume of news coverage that all the different sports receive, which not surprisingly shows Tennis as being pretty much the main female sport that is being covered, with very little else in comparison to male sport, even horses gain more exposure than females.
So while females are being splayed all over the magazines in compromising poses and clothing, they receive very little coverage of them competing within their sports. The inability of female sport to be fully professional and given similar or equal coverage in the media leaves the representation of women very much being subservient in a male dominated industry. Solmon et al. The social construction that female participants are labelled as homosexual in male dominated sports is a media formed fallacy.
The reason why this has occurred is that in past societies, homosexuality was frowned upon and when a female athlete is found to be a lesbian, then the media reveals it to the world, the stereotype builds. Until this is solved and females stand up against this, then there is little chance they have in improving their image in the sporting industry. Quoted in Messner , Anna Kournikova.
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About time! Women in sport and recreation in Australia. Volume 1. Canberra: Senate Printing Unit. Burroughs, A. Seebohm, and L. Sporting Traditions. In this context, sex-integrated sport potentially offers a radical departure from such beliefs. While sex integration in sport and physical cultural settings can take many forms, and not all of these are equally radical in their relationship to the normative gendered culture of sport, the possibilities that these practices present for challenging the traditional sexual hierarchies embedded within sporting practices make this a fascinating area of research for sport scholars.
The question of sex integration in physical education has been debated by physical educationists in the UK for some time, as changes in government policies regarding co-educational classes drove academic interest since at least the s e. Evans et al. Lopez , M. Duncan , and M. Stidder and S. Hayes , 65 — Yet in relation to sports, relatively little attention has been paid to sex integration, and despite the prominence of gender research in sport sociology since the s, research on sex integration in sports only began to gather pace from the mids e.
Henry and Comeaux Henry, J. Today, such enquiry features as a more prominent aspect of scholarship on sport and gender, with research publications since the mids proliferating across various national and sporting contexts. With reference to a selected number of publications from this emerging body of work, we now briefly address what we perceive to be some central issues regarding both the promise and pitfalls of sex integration, before introducing the works comprising the rest of this collection. One of the most problematic aspects of sex segregation in sport is that it reinforces the incorrect notion that all men and women are categorically different from each other with respect to specific dimensions of athletic performance.
With the exception, of course, being those sports wherein women are thought to have a natural advantage of their own, such as specific gymnastic events, as outlined in the endnote above. View all notes Yet the premise of sex-integrated sports challenges this belief, instead assuming a broad overlap between individual men and women in many dimensions of athletic ability.
Thus, when men and women compete against each other on equal terms, as happens in equestrian sport at all levels Dashper a Dashper, K. Sex Integration in Equestrian Sport. Sotiriadou , and I. Moreover, when women demonstrate an ability to compete with, or even defeat male opposition in sports which are typically not integrated, they stimulate reflection on otherwise entrenched beliefs about bodily capabilities, potentially inviting challenges to the sexist assumptions that all women are always athletically inferior to all men McDonagh and Pappano McDonagh, E.
Further still, when men and women face each other in traditionally male-dominated and deeply masculinized contexts, such as combat sports Channon Channon, A.
Channon and C. Matthews , — And if, as outlined above, we accept that notions of male athletic superiority often help underpin wider social constructions of male hegemony, then such challenges to these assumptions take on a clear symbolic importance McDonagh and Pappano McDonagh, E. Beside this political argument though, sex integration also has other benefits in relation to reworking gender relations within sport, principally regarding the establishment of positive, heterosocial relationships and greater inclusivity of non-binary people.
Indeed, some research showcased in this collection suggests that when men and women play together in a variety of team sports, as is the case in mixed-doubles tennis, korfball, floorball and quidditch see Lake Lake, R. London : National Union of Students. By not requiring people to classify themselves within one of only two distinct sex categories, integrated sports have the potential to offer inclusive spaces for such athletes.
International Review for the Sociology of Sport. Online first, doi: Sport in Society.
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Even in those sports with a long history and widespread normalization of sex integration, behavioural norms that reinforce and support distinct gender roles — particularly those which centre on the paternalistic treatment of women by men — can be difficult to shift e. Lake Lake, R. Secondly, although outstanding female performances against male opposition might be thought of as potentially transformative, it is difficult to imagine that this might become a normal state of affairs across any and all integrated sports, especially at higher levels of competition.
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As the global talent pool for female athletes remains disproportionately shallow owing to the well-evidenced drop-out from sport of adolescent girls e. Accessed Oct 25, Cooky, Messner, and Hextrum Cooky, C. Messner , and R. Pay Inequity in Athletics. Catching up the Men: Women in Sport. London : Junction Books.
Indeed, even in many sports where human strength and speed are not key contributors to athletic success, such as in equestrian sports, men still tend to dominate elite levels of competition and perform disproportionately well in comparison to their female peers, almost certainly owing to a range of social, economic and cultural factors embedded in contemporary sport Dashper Dashper, K. In Gender and Equestrian Sport , edited by M. Adelman and J. London : Springer.
Moreover, while several scholars remain optimistic about the value of female success over male opponents in this respect, there is evidence that even these performances can be rationalized away, subsumed within dismissive or infantilizing discourse that neutralizes their subversive impact Wachs Wachs, F. Indeed, many sex-integrated sports that espouse the rhetoric of equality and egalitarianism, like floorball, korfball, roller derby, surfing, skydiving and snowboarding, very often in practice reproduce male dominance with respect to their organization, leadership, behavioural etiquette and differentiated styles of participation see Booth Booth, Douglas.
Additionally, while sex integration may begin to challenge male hegemony symbolically and practically within sport, it must be noted that many women value female-only sports settings. This may be for religious or cultural reasons e. Dagkas, Benn, and Jawad Dagkas, S. Benn , and H. Long , T.
Cricket and South Asian Communities. Leeds : Yorkshire Cricket Board.
Women in Sports Essay
Several researchers who advocate sex integration as one step towards greater gender justice in sport therefore also argue for the continuation of women-only sport spaces e. Not without contention, these authors and others have argued for the abolition of all male-only sports contexts and competitions but suggest that women, as a subordinated group, should be able to choose between sex-integrated and sex-segregated sporting spaces. Thus, whilst sex integration within sport has potential to trouble masculine hegemony and contribute to greater gender justice, it may not be appropriate in all contexts and is not a simple solution to deeply ingrained and far-reaching sex inequality.
As is clearly evident from existing research and the essays within this collection, the goal of creating a socially inclusive sporting world that is both necessary and realistic, cannot be solely a matter of the right policy or the right time see Priyadharshini and Pressland Priyadharshini, E. Equal opportunities will remain unobtainable if the central tenet of the reproduction of male privilege is allowed to remain uncontested. Important though as it is, gender equality is not the only marker of sporting inclusion. Thus, as has been argued elsewhere, for enduring public gender equality work to be possible, the conditions for it to become embedded in the ways people really think about social justice require more subtle forms of understanding than are currently available.
With these controversies in mind, the remainder of this special issue of Sport in Society attempts to shed light on contemporary manifestations of both the promises and pitfalls of sex-integrated sport and physical culture. The 18 essays which follow have been grouped into 4 broad sections: theorizing sex integration in sport and physical culture; integration in PE and youth sport; integrated non - contact sports; and integrated contact sports.
These sections were constructed to mirror what we believe to be an increasing scale of incredulity shown towards the prospect of sex-integrated sport. Assigning essays to these categories was a little difficult, and we acknowledge the dangers of compartmentalizing each contribution by recognizing that there was scope for cross-categorization in some cases. This is both a strength and weakness of the process, which was ultimately done for clarity of readership, but may underplay the interconnectedness of the issues expressed herein. View all notes The purpose of these was to offer an opportunity for early career researchers to showcase their work, and due to their shorter format — words provide an accessible outlet for research dissemination alongside the larger, full-length research articles comprising the other 14 contributions.
In her essay Sailors considers three questions: Are women capable of competing against men in sporting events? If they are, might there be good reasons to prohibit such competition? Sailors is clear that these are meant as provocations, and ought not to be considered as sacrosanct. She argues how, despite attempts to delineate a division of sex proving arbitrary, sport authorities have repeatedly attempted to draw a concrete line between men and women to uphold a sex-segregated sporting paradigm.
Ries , A.