Individuals Entering Non-Traditional Roles in Sports
Sports provide an amazing outlet for people of all ages. It has been proven that sports help focus and concentration as well as improving ones physical state. It is a beneficial pastime that all should be allowed to enjoy. Up until that age of 12-13 both genders are invited and welcomed to play sports. After this point something changes, it is not really talked about but pressure is effectively applied and society somehow manages to push people into very gender orientated and gender specific sports. The question is, what happens when someone doesn't succumb to the pressure and actively participates in what it referred to as a non-traditional role in a particular sport? This idea applies to both sexes, not just females. We are talking about how society reacts when women compete in body building competitions and when men become figure skaters. I believe that the root of our problem lies within the biases of our society.
The first major question that should be answered is why does society believe that people entering non-traditional roles as such a negative occurrence? I think that the root of this belief is buried in the past and has matriculated down through the generations. In the early history of sports it was believed that women were too delicate to participate in sports. The thought was that if women participated in strenuous activity that they would damage their reproductive organs, which would ultimately not fulfill an absurd belief that the primary role of women in society was to have children and care for the men. Back then sports were also used as an arena for men to test and publicly display their masculinity. Open acceptance of women in sports at that time would have posed as too much of a threat to the men's masculinity, therefore many years went by which allowed the practice of only traditional roles being witnessed and accepted.
On a more personal level, it has been my observation that up until the junior high level both boys and girls are actively engaged in sports, but once the boys start to get bigger, the adults in the society become apprehensive about allowing mixed gender play. I feel as though society has a tough time embracing the possibility that women might get hurt if they play sports. It is at this point in a student's career that a great division occurs, all of a sudden innocent games become strictly regulated and boys and girls are separated.