Athletes Changing Gender Roles

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Athletes Changing Gender Roles

It's not uncommon for male and female athletes involved in sports that "threaten" the traditional roles of men and women to be stereotyped and made fun of for being less than what a man or woman should be. It is not deemed "normal" for a man to be a ballet dancer, synchronized swimmer or ice skater because those are traditionally "feminine" sports. The barriers to men becoming involved in traditionally female sports may be harder to overcome than those in front of women participating in traditionally male sports because there is a certain level of novelty when a woman tries to participate in a male sport. She is tolerated because she is so "cute" or because she won't be good at it anyway; for a man in a woman's sport, it is not necessarily the women, but other men within society who pass judgment on said man's masculinity. For men and women athletes who are involved in a sport that goes against the traditional sex and gender roles there are benefits in the long run, but the costs and sacrifices are, on the whole, more prominent.

The benefits of a woman or man becoming involved and pursuing excellence in a sport that is non-traditional due to contradictions in gender expectations and roles may seem few and far between. The hardest stage of a person's involvement in said sport may be the beginning—just being exposed to a sport that goes against gender roles isn't enough because exposure may be as simple as national Olympic coverage or an invitation to a child's birthday party. Once person is exposed to a non-traditional sport, the first hurdle is getting over self-inflicted (which are directly linked to society-inflicted) gender stereotypes and having an interest in pursuing involvement in tha...

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...rity of society that going against gender roles is worth it because of the hardships seem to outweigh the benefits. However, it is the love of the sport and the love of participating in it that propels people forward, regardless of how it affects how people view them in terms of their gender. In many ways it is harder for women to overcome the expectations put on their gender, but once that barrier was broken the stigma that is attached to them is easier for them to bear. Men can easily participate in "female" sports, but they may be harassed more by male athletes and feel the pressures put on them by their gender differently then women. Looking at sports today, it is obvious that, even though changes still need to be made within society, progress has been made and the line between the genders is becoming more and more abstract in the realm of sports and athletics.
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