The Social and Cultural Costs and Benefits of Entering a Sport Not Traditional to Your Sex/Gender

The Social and Cultural Costs and Benefits of Entering a Sport Not Traditional to Your Sex/Gender

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The Social and Cultural Costs and Benefits of Entering a Sport Not Traditional to Your Sex/Gender


Throughout time, sports have been thought of as feminine sports or masculine sports. Some sports that are thought of as feminine are gymnastics, swimming, tennis, riding, and ice-skating. These tend to be sports that emphasize beauty and grace. Men's sports tend to emphasize strength and power, like football, basketball, or bodybuilding. The social and cultural stereotypes that are placed on men and especially women in the sports world can be hard for an athlete to deal with. Men are expected to be masculine and strong in their sports, while females are expected not to overexert themselves and still keep their feminine appeal. Who is to say what sports are okay for men and women to participate in? Is it fair to place stereotypes on people who are just doing what they love to do? Will these stereotypes diminish over time?

In history, women have been given a hard time for coming into sports. Since at least the late 1800s there have been myths about women in sports, some of which we are still working on debunking to this day. Some include the notion that sport masculinizes women, sports are medically risky for women, the female body was not made for sports performance, women are not interested in sports, and women cannot psychologically take the pressure of sports (Oglesby & Shelton, 9). Women were seen as fragile and unable to compete on the same level as men could in sports. Women of this time who played softball, basketball, or track were considered "unladylike" and were questioned of their femininity (Spears, 13). Public recognition of individual female athletes deals more with their feminine beauty and status than to athlet...


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...ting could become a role model for a young boy who thought that people would think that he was gay if he skated.

Although there are cultural and social costs associated with a person entering a sport that is not traditional for his or her gender, there are also some benefits. The question that only the athlete can answer is whether the benefits out weigh the costs enough to stick with it. I have hope that stereotypes in sports will become less observed. Sports have changed so much in the last century. Women were barely allowed to play certain sports like basketball at the turn of the last century and now we have professional woman's basketball. More changes are coming, slowly but surely they are coming. Just the fact that we are now questioning the costs and benefits of being in a sport that is not necessarily for your gender/sex is a step in the right direction.

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