Gender In Sports Essay Research Paper Gender

Gender In Sports Essay, Research Paper

Gender in Sports

December 4, 1996

In high schools and junior high schools across the country the importance of

interscholastic sports competitions is strongly demonstrated to the students.

They see the rewards and accolades given to the accomplished athletes, not only

at these levels, but at the collegiate and professional levels as well. While

most of these teams are formed and exist for both men and women, it is

interesting how different each team tends to be treated. At High school

football games, for example, the students and faculty show up in record numbers

to prove their loyalty to the team and to the school itself. This football team

is always comprised of men who use the sport to demonstrate their masculinity

through the smashing and bashing of each other’s skulls. Occasionally, one may

find a select number of women who had to fight their way onto the team only to

sit on the sidelines and watch. It is quite probable that such girls are only

able to get onto the teams on the basis that most schools simply do not have a

football team dedicated solely to the women football athletes. This lack of

recognition for female athletes only becomes more frequent as one progresses

through the levels of competition in virtually any sport. The games of women’s

teams, where they do exist, tend to draw only limited crowds at most levels of

competition, scholastic or otherwise. In the realm of athletic activities, the

American society has chosen not to offer the same opportunities to its women as

it traditionally has to its men. For centuries, it seems, it has generally been

accepted that sports and other activities relying upon physical performance

have been left for the men to participate in and enjoy. The women were

generally left with the “traditional” duties of managing the household for their

amusement. Just as many things have come to be drastically altered over the

course of the last century or so, so has this old fashioned idea. Women have

shown an interest of their own when it comes to sports. They have demonstrated

that they, too, want to be able to prove their physical ability and talent

through competition in a variety of athletic activities. While most of these

activities are adapted versions of the same sports that were originally played

by the men, women have shown that they can play them just as hard and as dirty

against each other as the men have been doing for as long as one can recall.

They have shown that they can be conditioned and up to the physical challenge

that most sports demand, despite their being female and traditionally seen as

“delicate creatures” by society. With few exceptions, women have proven that

they really are no different than men when it comes to their abilities to

participate in activities that used to be reserved for the masculine and the

“strong” as opposed to the feminine and the “weak.” Only recently have

activities, such as football, begun to present themselves as attractive sports

for young girls wishing to participate in something athletic. Previously, the

participation of the “weaker sex” in such a “harsh game” has been discouraged

for a variety of reasons. Some site the “frailty” of women as the exclusion

factor, relying on the assumption that all members of the female sex possess

this inhibiting characteristic This idea can be proven wrong by any young girl

who has had to grow up surrounded either by a group of rowdy, older brothers or

has lived in a neighborhood consisting primarily of male companions. In this

environment, especially, she has been forced to identify with those around her

by taking part in the same activities and play as roughly as any one of the guys

do with each other. She has demonstrated that she does not let her sex dictate

who she is or who she wants to be. It is in part for this reason , perhaps,

that girls have started to come out of their traditional roles as demure

females and desire to step onto the playing fields with those with whom they

may have grown up. Where teams do not exist specifically for women in some

sports, some have taken it upon themselves to try and play with the guys. These

girls tend to find opposition to this type of change within their schools and

communities. Why should society tell her that she may not participate because

it is not a sport designed for her? Since all women do not possess this

assumed quality of innate frailty any more than all men possess the ability to

fix cars and belch, they should not be treated as if they do. Since

professional sports teams were first developed years ago, women have not

received their share of recognition for athletic ability by the establishment

of leagues and teams within which they may play professionally. What makes a

man playing a sport more interesting to watch than a woman playing the same

game? Perhaps it is due to the fact that women’s sports aren’t as popular at

the high school and collegiate levels as the men’s sports tend to be. For this

reason, the owners and developers of professional sports leagues may not feel

that there is a need for these types of leagues. At the same time, a sort of

circular idea emerges in that it could also be the case that these sports are

not as popular at the high school level simply because teams do not exist at a

professional level for female athletes to use as a goal or role model. For

example, many spectators watch the football, baseball, and basketball games

eagerly in high school because they know that the possibility exists that the

strongest athletes may be talented enough to go on to compete at the higher

levels. On the other hand, most women do not have this opportunity to go on to

achieve such glorious recognition, so why should the spectators be as interested

in their playing of a mere game in any sport? Growing up in the American society,

young girls and women are not given the same opportunities as their male

counterparts in the ways of athletic competition and sports in general. From

the time children begin to walk and run, our culture has led us to point the

little boys in the direction of various athletic activities, while sending the

little girls off to play “school” and “house.” This has, over time, been

enlarged to be the general idea where sports are concerned. At the scholastic

levels of competition, high school and college alike, while teams have been

created for women, the best resources and ideas are usually reserved for the

players on the men’s teams. They are the primary reason that the new stadium is

erected or the new facilities have been designed to accommodate. These

institutions only contribute to the sense of inequality among the sexes in

their blatant separation and mismatched treatment of the sports teams of men an

women. The crowds often flock to the men’s games, while only the diehard fans

come to watch the women’s teams hard at work. All of this is only enhanced by

the lack of any professional sports leagues in which women may participate and

form careers. The idea that women cannot handle the world of sports is

ridiculous because general assumptions of that magnitude cannot be accurately

made by anyone. Women are as capable of playing athletics in the respected

arena as any man is and it is time that action be taken to observe the truth of

this statement.


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