Throughout history, society has clearly defined the roles that men and women were expected to play. In these roles, men were seen as both physically and mentally stronger, and women were seen as more gentle, caring and physically and mentally weaker. As such, men participating in sports which demonstrate grace and elegance was not, and to some extent, still is not considered to be the norm. Likewise, women participating in sports which demonstrate or require a great deal of physical strength is considered to be un-ladylike.
Additionally, there has been a certain physical image associated with both men and women, and when a person is physically different from what is considered the norm, then they are open to ridicule and prejudice from society. Traditionally, the image of women is that of curvaceous, maternal-looking people. Thus a woman who is exceptionally physically fit, or who has large and well-defined muscles is seen as strange. In fact, an "overly" muscular woman is generally seen as very masculine, or as someone who is trying to be manly. It is for this reason that many female athletes have been branded as "butch" or as lesbians.
Conversely, men who do not carry the image of testosterone-filled, macho, muscular and physically strong people are seen as less manly than they should be. Society seems to believe that men should participate in sports which promote the macho image, such as those sports which have a violent aspect to them, and those sports which base themselves in a demonstration of physical strength. As such, men who participate in sports such as boxing or power lifting are far more easily accepted than men who participate in sports such as synchronized swi...
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...pread and secretarial jobs are considered to be women's jobs.
There are many incongruities between what is considered acceptable for men and what is considered acceptable for women, and this can be seen in all walks of life. It stems from the traditional images of what men and women should look like and how they should behave which have been imposed on us by both our society and the traditions passed on to us from our ancestors. These incongruities and prejudices are most clearly seen and acknowledged in the world of sports, but in truth they pervade almost every aspect of our lives. This is not an issue which has an easy solution, but it is an issue which must be addressed if there is to be an end to the ridicule which many people are subjected to as a result of following a career path or making life decisions which do not conform to this set of unspoken rules.
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