Biologically men are different to women. Yes that is a fact of life because of their biology, men have testosterone and women have estrogen it is what we are born with we don’t get to choose what we are given unless we want to change into the opposite sex. Within my report i am focussing on athletism within female athletes. I am going to dig deep into true sources within sociology to find out what has evolved throughout these years, and why females are impacted alot by athletism.
Although women’s roles within today’s society has improved over the years, in many countries it is seen that there is still an ongoing amount of gender inequality. The roles that women are “socialized” with creates women with very less alternatives which often ends some sort of role conflict. An example of this within today’s society is portrayed through female athletes. This develops an expectation to convey the role of being both an athlete and a female, these socaietal pressures creates these roles to ultimately contradict each other. Women have this preconcieved “expectation” to be non muscular, and slim. To be noncompetitive, gentle, loving and not to get involved to much in any type of physical activity. Within contrast to this athletes “shouls” have dominance and show strength, power and grit. Athletes are competitive and have a love for physical involvement which comes with any type of sport. These “preconcieved”expectations are exactly the same as the expectations of men. Which is related to the socialization of men, based upon their gender roles and biological sex.
Female athletes are always strugglely to fulfill the two roles that they societley expected of them. This is a very sad reality that has affected many professional athletes within sport. We can relate role conflict to the sociological theory of dramaturgy, developed by Erving Goffman.
“Muscularity Beliefs of Female College Student Athletes” is an article which discusses conflicting roles, specifically the conflicts in physicality (Steinfeldt, et al.). As a female college athlete myself here at Stony Brook University in Long Island New York I can definitely relate to the physique that female athletes constantly try to achieve. How they aim to enhance their physical appearance and athletic ability.
This article argued the pursuits which female college athletes want in order to be muscular and the suggestions to why they want to be muscular.
This study started by making a statement that “Female athletes in the United States face the paradoxical challenge of acquiring a degree of muscularity to be successful in their sport, yet they also endure pressure from societal expectations of femininity that often don’t conform with the notion of muscularity”.
I have found that this is way to prevelant in society. As being a runner myself and growing up with having running idols that are slim, and muscular I aspired to be just like them. However since then all of who were my idols have recently come out saying they had eating disorders and weren’t healthy or happy. It is so common and only in 2018 people are starting to do so,ething about this. It is so hard to come out to the world and tell people abouyt the struggles your’e facing. So i am just so grateful to the people who are. My personal idol Rosa Flanagon has recently come out about her struggles and has created a network to help this issue.
All of this time I was aspiring to be unhealthy, yet i though that she was heathy. In quantitative studies which address the reasons why female athletes consider being muscular showed that 45% wanted muscularity for functionality, 42% of their health, 21% for external looks and 18% for internal gratification.
These numbers really do demonstrate that female athletes wanted muscularity for athletic performance, however 39% serveyed mentioned gratification, this can be related to how they want to look, and how they feel see their bodies.
Another example in which quantitative data is involved for this article potrayed that 16% of female college athletes didn’t want to be muscular, however every male college athlete twho were surveyed wanted to be muscular. I guess this shows thta males care within athletism to, and that this isnt just a female issue. Ofcourse it is less prevalent within males though.
In the second article I examined, some information about bodybuilding. This article in which i studied was called “Flexing the Tensions of Female Muscularity: by Lex Boyle. This article focusses on the recent action of controversial judgment which differs for the men’s and women’s. Women began to compete within competitions in bodybuilding in 1979. They were each judged on the same criteria that men were: For example “physical muscularity and impressive size”. However within more recent times the “International Federation of Bodybuilding” has changed the Judgement standards for the women’s catergory, actively instituting “femininity” as a official judgment. And the judgement of “Masculinity” still remains with muscularity in the men’s bodybuilding competition. This change meant women who were focussing on working towards enhance muscularity had to switch their attention to toning their bodies to slim, toned and sexy. This brings me into another topic sexism and sexualtzation. Sexism affects society hugely, which ultimately means females are undervalued. Historically women have always been undervalued when compared to males. This dates back to WW2 and the legacy that the war has had. Because of this legacy it has meant women are known as the weaker human being out of the two. which is a sad reality. Sexualization is another main factor. Another article which I focussed on was “Barbie Dolls” on the Pitch: Identity Work, Defensive Othering and Inequality in Women’s Rugby” by Matthew B. Ezzell of the University of North Carolina.
Within this article it focusses on correlations and analyzes the strategies taht women use in a the male-defined sport. This article potrays that the idea within hyperfemininity and introduces this within female athletes. This can be correlated to Erving Goffman’s theory of dramaturgy, as discussed in “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” , and the validation of roles.
In my final source I focussed on cheerleading within America. Cheerleading is c onsidered as an extremely female dominated sport. It is a stereotypical feminine sport that males dont tend to be involved with. Within the article Cheerleading and the Gendered Politics of Sport” (Grindstaff) potrays that cheerleading within females, is super popular, however can be a toxic environment for young girls to get involved in.
Within the society we live in today, where athleticism is directly correlated with masculinity, female athletes are constantly struggleling with a role conflict: “to be feminine or to be athletic”. This has occurred because of the structuring of gender roles and socialization these roles have within today’s society. This ultimately creates these roles as parallel opposites. We as humans are “assigned” these roles based on our biological sex, and obeying what society expects of us as humans.
With athleticism breaking female athletes to the bone we need to make a choice as what are they expected to salvage; their feminine identity or their athletic ability.