Being and Playing: Sport and the Valorisation of Gender

In William J. Morgan (ed.), Ethics in Sport. Human Kinetics, Inc 331 (2007)
Sport acts as a vehicle for the social realization of certain traditional normative frameworks of gender construction and interpretation. Women participating in traditionally male defined sports challenge those frameworks and open the possibility of a redefinition of women’s gender identity, while also raising practical questions concerning women’s control over the means and direction of that redefinition. This paper traces, in both general and personal terms, several of the issues faced by women in “male” sports, especially hockey. These include the problems of being seen within the sport, of learning gender proscribed traits, the impact of the differential validational import of athletic participation for men and women (which generates issues concerning cross- and intra-gender hostility, heterosexism and homophobia), and the importance of both self- and mutual respect for female athletic success.
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