Gender and Sports: Does Equity Require Ideological Changes?
What is sex? The biological characteristics of maleness of femaleness.
Three biological characteristics can be used to identify a person’s sex. • Physical Appearance • Genitalia are commonly used at birth, but not without some occasional errors. • Hermaphrodite • Physical abnormality
The Second Biological Characteristic • Hormones • Hormones can also be used, but hormone levels vary greatly between members of the same sex. • Hormone levels are also influenced by physical activity. • Males and females have the same hormones. • Estrogen • Testosterone
The Third Biological Characteristic • Chromosomes • Chromosome testing is used to measure the presence of either XX or XY pairs. • Chromosome testing is not frequently done, but when the test is done some errors do occur. • Olympic FEM-testing has been criticized for many years. • Errors are associated with all methods of determining individual sex.
Sex Category –is the assigning of a person (or self) to either male or female sex. What attributes do people use to identify someone's sex? • Hair length? • Physique? • Skin complexion? • Voice? • How often are you wrong???
Will women ever be able to: • Run as fast? • Jump as high? • Lift as much?
Sexism • The belief that a persons behavior is the product of their biological sex.
Participation and Equity Issues Participation by girls & women has increased dramatically since the early 1980s due to: • New opportunities • Government equal rights legislation • Global women’s rights movement • Expanding health & fitness movement • Increased media coverage of women’s sports
Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (1-4) • Budget cutbacks and the privatization of sport programs • Resistance to government regulations • Backlash among those who resent strong women • Under representation of women in decision-making positions in sport programs
Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (5-7) • Continued emphasis on “cosmetic fitness” • Trivialization of women’s sports • Homophobia and the threat of being labeled “lesbian”
Gender and Fairness Issues in Sports • Inequities in participation opportunities • Often grounded in dominant definitions of femininity in a culture • May be related to religious beliefs • Establishing legal definitions of equity • Support for athletes • Jobs for women in coaching and administration
Legal Definitions: Title IX in the US Title IX requires compliance with one of these three tests: • The proportionality test • A 5 percentage point deviation is okay • The history of progress test • Judged by actions & progress over past 3 years • The accommodation of interest test • Programs & teams meet the interests and abilities of the under represented sex
Access to facilities Quality of facilities Availability of scholarships Program operating expenses Recruiting budgets Scheduling of games & practice times Travel and per diem expenses Academic tutoring Number of coaches Salaries for all staff and administrators Medical training services and facilities Publicity for players, teams, and events Title IX Categories of Support for Athletes:
Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation • Women have fewer established connections in elite programs • Subjective evaluative criteria used by search committees • Support systems & professional development opportunities for women have been scarce
Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation • Many women do not see spaces for them in corporate cultures of sport programs • Sport organizations are seldom sensitive to family responsibilities among coaches and administrators • Women may anticipate sexual harassment and more demanding standards than those used to judge men
Strategies to Promote Gender Equity (1-4): • Confront discrimination and be an advocate for women coaches and administrators • Be an advocate of fair and open employment practices • Keep data on gender equity • Learn and educate others about the history of discrimination in sports and how to identify discrimination
Strategies to Promote Gender Equity (5-9): • Inform media of unfair and discriminatory policies • Package women’s sports as revenue producers • Recruit women athletes into coaching • Use women’s hiring networks • Create a supportive climate for women in your organization
Cheerleaders: Reproducing Definitions of Femininity? • Cheerleading in the late 1800s was a male activity; it changed after World War II • Cheerleading today is a diverse phenomenon, but cheerleading sometimes is organized in ways that reproduce traditional gender logic • Be attractive, and pure & wholesome • Support men as they work • Be an emotional leader without receiving material rewards
Girls and Women As Agents of Change Sport participation can empower women • But this does not occur automatically • But personal empowerment is not necessarily associated with an awareness of the need for gender transformation in society as a whole • But elite athletes seldom are active agents of change when it comes to gender ideology
Why Elite Athletes Seldom Challenge Traditional Gender Ideology • Women athletes often fear being tagged as ungrateful, “man-haters,” or “lesbians” • Corporation-driven “celebrity-feminism” focuses on individualism and consumption, not everyday struggles related to gender • “Empowerment discourses” in sports are tied to fitness and heterosexual attractiveness • Women athletes have little control or political voice in sports or society at large
Boys and Men As Agents of Change Gender equity also is a men’s issue: • Equity involves creating options for men to play sports not based exclusively on a power and performance model • Equity emphasizes relationships based on cooperation rather than conquest and domination
Changes in Gender Ideology: Prerequisites for Gender Equity Gender ideology is crucial because: • Gender is a fundamental organizing principle of social life • Gender logic influences how we • Think of self and other • How we relate to others • How we present ourselves • How we think about and plan for our future
Gender Logic Based on a Two-category Classification System • Assumes two mutually exclusive categories: heterosexual male and heterosexual female • These categories are perceived in terms of difference, and as “opposites” • System leaves no space for those who do not fit into either of the two categories • The two categories are not equal when it comes to access to power
Sports: Celebrations of Masculinity • Gender is not fixed in nature – therefore, people must work to maintain definitions • Sportsare sites for preserving forms of gender logic that privilege men & marginalize women • Dominantsportforms highlight and reward virility, power, and toughness • Sport images and discourse glorify a heroic manhood based on being a warrior
Gender Logic in Sports: Girls and Women As Invaders • Girls and women in sports often threaten the preservation of traditional gender logic • Through history, myths have been used to discourage participation by girls and women • Encouragement varies by sport, and whether the sport emphasizes grace or power • Being a “tomboy” is okay as long as traditional “femininity cues” are presented
Women Bodybuilders: Expanding Definitions of Femininity? • Competitive bodybuilding for women did not exist before the 1970s • Women bodybuilders often are perceived as deviant in terms of gender definitions • Women bodybuilders challenge traditional definitions of gender, despite commercial images that highlight heterosexual attractiveness • Femininity insignias are used to avoid social marginalization
Gender-based Double Standards:Do They Exist in Sports? What would happen if: • Mia Hamm beat up a man or a couple of women in a bar fight? • A rugby team “mooned” tourists in Washington, DC? • A basketball player had four children with four different men? • Anna Kournikova was photographed with near naked men ogling and hanging on her?
Homophobia in Sports • Popular discourse erases the existence of gay men and lesbians in sports • Gay men and lesbians challenge the two-category gender classification system • Being “out” in sports creates challenges • Women risk acceptance • Men risk acceptance and physical safety • Most people in sports hold a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy concerning homosexuality
Strategies for Changing Ideology and Culture There is a need for • Alternative definitions of masculinity • Critically question violent & destructive behavior • Alternative definitions of femininity • Becoming “like men” is not the goal • Changing the ways we talk about & do sports • Lifetime participation, an ethic of care, gender equity, and bringing boys and girls and men and women together to share sport experiences
Race and Ethnicity: Are They Important in Sports?
DefiningRace& Ethnicity • Race refers to a category of people regarded as socially distinct • Share “genetic” traits believed to be important by those with power and influence in society • An ethnic group is a socially distinct population that shares a way of life • Committed to the ideas, norms, and things that constitute that way of life
Minority Group Refers to a socially identified collection of people who • Experience systematic discrimination • Suffer social disadvantages because of discrimination • Possess a self-consciousness based on their shared experiences
The Concept of Race • Racial categories are social creations based on meanings given to selected physical traits • Race is not a valid biological concept • Verified by data from Human Genome Project • Racial classifications ambiguous • because they are based on continuous traits with arbitrary lines drawn to create categories • Racial classifications vary from culture to culture
Racial Categories: Drawing Lines in Society Snow white Midnight black Continuous Traits=skin color, height, brain size, nose width, leg length, leg length ratio, # of fast twitch muscle fibers, etc. Discrete Traits =blood type, sickle cell trait, etc. Racial category lines can be drawn anywhere and everywhere!We could draw 2 or 2000; the decision is a social one, not a biological one. Some people draw many; others draw few.
Race in the United States • A primitive but powerful classification system has been used in the U.S. • It is a two-category system based on the rule of hypo-descent or the “one-drop rule” • The rule was developed by white men to insure the “purity” of the “white race” and property control by white men • Mixed-race people challenge the validity of this socially influential way of defining race
Tiger Woods:Disrupting Dominant Race Logic CABLINASIAN CA = Caucasian BL = Black IN = Indian ASIAN = Asian
Using Critical Theory to Ask Questions About Racial Classification Systems • Which classification systems are used? • Who uses them? • Why are some people so dedicated to using certain classification systems? • What are the consequences of usage? • Can negative consequences be minimized? • Can the systems be challenged? • What occurs when systems change?
Race Ideology in History Racial classification systems were developed as Caucasian Europeans explored and colonized the globe • These systems were used to justify colonization, conversion, and even slavery and genocide • According to these systems, white skin was the standard, and dark skin was associated with intellectual inferiority and arrested development
Race Ideology in Sports Today Race logic encourages people to • “See” sport performances in racial terms, i.e., in terms of skin color • Use whiteness as the taken-for-granted standard • Explain the success or failure of people with dark skin in racial terms • Do studies to “discover” racial difference
Achievements of White Athletes are due to: Character Culture Organization Achievements of Black Athletes are due to: Biology Natural physical abilities Traditional Race LogicUsed in Sports
Searching For ”Jumping Genes” in Black Bodies Why is the search misleading? • Based on oversimplified ideas about genes and how they work • Assumes that jumping is a simple physical activity related to a single gene or interrelated set of genes • Begins with skin color and social definitions of race
A Sociological Hypothesis Race logic + discrimination + sport opportunities Beliefs about biological & cultural destiny + Motivation to develop skills OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS
The Power of Race Logic • Black male students often have a difficult time shaking “athlete” labels based on race logic • Young people from all racial backgrounds may make choices influenced by race logic • In everyday life, race logic is related to the cultural logic of gender and social class