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Ch 2 Whose Body Is This?. Women’s Sports and Sexual Politics N. Bailey’s Notes on Chapter by Don Sabo and Michael Messner In Women In Sport, Greta Cohen, Ed. Intro: The Problem Persists. Despite Title IX and all the changes, men’s domination of women in sport continues

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ch 2 whose body is this

Ch 2 Whose Body Is This?

Women’s Sports and Sexual Politics

N. Bailey’s Notes on Chapter by Don Sabo and Michael Messner

In Women In Sport, Greta Cohen, Ed.

intro the problem persists
Intro: The Problem Persists
  • Despite Title IX and all the changes, men’s domination of women in sport continues
  • Evidence: H.S. sports where male athletes get better uniforms, trophies, practice locations, game times
  • Female coaches receive less recognition, lower salaries
more evidence
More evidence
  • Men’s sports - top billing in news, tv
  • In some schools systems are dropping women’s athletic programs in order to retain men’s programs
  • Colleges and Universities spend millions more to recruit male athletes; spend more on male scholarships (45+m & 143 million)
paradox gold mine vs the shaft
Paradox: Gold Mine vs. the Shaft
  • Despite: great increases in women’s and girl’s participation –
  • Despite parents overwhelmingly agreeing that sports are no longer just for boys
  • Many women benefit from sports and fitness activities
  • Discrimination still deeply ingrained
chapter overview
Chapter Overview
  • Critical feminist perspective to explain why gender relations in sport often are defined and acted out in ways that reflect and reproduce men’s domination of women in the larger society.
  • Sport: social/historical theater for feminist struggle;gender oppression challenged
sexual politics
Sexual Politics
  • Authors focus on gender issues in sport that are expressed through sexual politics – that is, the power struggles between women and men that unfold through and around sexual relationships.
  • (Do you recall Kate Millett’s book? N. Bailey asks)
topics included in this chapter
Topics Included in This Chapter
  • Women’s Sports as a Challenge to Male Hegemony
  • Able-bodied Athletes, Sex Objects, or Commodities?
  • Homophobia and Women’s Athletics
  • The Locker Room and Rape Culture
  • Co-ed Sport: Theater for Change?
challenging male hegemony
Challenging Male Hegemony
  • Many women and some men are challenging sexist attitudes & discriminatory practices in the family, school, religion, health care system, and in sport
  • Feminism: a movement that seeks to end sexist oppression
  • Help men change some of the destructive aspects in our lives and identities
more definitions
More Definitions
  • Feminism – a movement to empower women by challenging male hegemony
  • Hegemony refers to the influence of certain beliefs that overshadow public awareness in social and political situations and, in the process help dominant groups to maintain power of subordinate groups
examples of hegemony
Examples of Hegemony
  • 19th Century prevailing or hegemonic scientific and religious beliefs about Blacks helped White males control the system of slavery
  • Similarly, thee prevailing model of masculinity in our culture helps men collectively to maintain their control and domination of women.
empowerment of women through sports
Empowerment of Women Through Sports
  • Challenges male violence against women
  • One of three women will be victim of rape, battery, or incest in her lifetime
  • 2 Million women, or 1 every 18 seconds, are physically abused by their male partners yearly.
  • Battery occurs 12 to 22% dating rel.
violence not ended
Violence Not Ended
  • Mariah Burton Nelson: most rape victims (84.6%) report that they fought back.
  • Even though athletic experience fosters female power, women are still vulnerable to abuse. See Leslie Heywood’s autobiography; Pat Griffin’s interviews with Lesbians - liberating
the good news
The Good News
  • Despite homophobia and discrimination, women report that sports were a source of joy, belonging, friendships, and loving relationships.
  • Research: girls who participate in H.S. sports less likely to drop out, lower pregnancy rates, fewer sex partners, begin sex activity later
sports a cultural resource for girls
Sports A Cultural Resource for Girls
  • Sports may build girls’ confidence, sense of physical empowerment, and social recognition within the school community
  • Girls may be using self reliance and social status of athletic participation to resist social pressures to exchange sex for approval or popularity
athletes sex objects or commodities
Athletes, Sex Objects, or Commodities?
  • Muscle and self-confidence of female athletes stand up against the traditional images of female frailty, aversion to competition and dependence on men.
  • “Booters with Hooters” U.S. Soccer team - humor and self-confidence
  • Brandy Chastain’s sports bra & media
media backlash objectification
Media Backlash: Objectification
  • Posing for Playboy Magazine, Katerina Witt
  • Mia Ham TV shampoo commercial
  • Anna Kournakova’s provocative pose for Sports Illustrated Cover
  • Are they falling prey to the male-dominated put-them-down media?
the bun hugger look
The “Bun hugger” look
  • Volleyball players send messages that reinforce images of sexualization in sport even though players often request alternative options.
  • Why do all women volleyball players seem to have pony tails? Even when the pervading hair styles favor short hair women athletes have long hair?
media mistreatment
Media Mistreatment
  • Amateur Athletic Foundation study, 2000: coverage comprised 8.7%; in 1989 it was 5.0%, and in ’93 2.2%
  • Trivialized by reducing women athletes to sex objects
  • Soft porn of the SI swimsuit issue. Female models, not female athletes make the sports scene. Best-selling
women athletes becoming celebrities
Women Athletes Becoming Celebrities
  • Will women athletes pay a higher price socially and politically, for the sexual sell?
  • To what extent is nudity becoming an admission price for both sexes to succeed in the sport and entertainment industries?
  • Double standard?
homophobia women s athletics
Homophobia & women’s Athletics
  • Homophobia defined: irrational fear & hatred. Prejudice that feeds on stereotypes and discriminates between who is afforded opportunities and not
  • Hurts many women whether they are gay or not
  • Enforces traditional gender, and thereby reinforces male hegemony
why all the noise about homosexuals
Why all the Noise About Homosexuals?
  • Moralizing and policing around homosexuality distracts public awareness of the more common and real threat of sexual abuses by heterosexual men.
  • Male coaches abuse of female athletes is ignored and undetected.
locker room sexism ignored
Locker-room sexism Ignored
  • Until recently, the homophobia in traditional men’s sports hid the connections between locker-room sexism and the sexual maltreatment of women.
the locker room and the rape culture
The Locker Room and The Rape Culture
  • Boys and men learn to define masculinity through the denigration of homosexuality and femininity.
  • In boyhood and young adult male peer groups, especially in athletics, insults such as “fag”, “girl,” and “woman” are used interchangeably.
messner s interviews
Messner’s Interviews
  • Male former athletes report using women as objects of sexual conquest in order to gain status in the male peer group
  • Impoverishes their relationships with women
  • Telling the stories helps men deal with a fear of intimacy with women
young male athletes attitudes
Young Male Athletes’ Attitudes
  • Young male attitudes toward girls and women are filtered by and subordinate to their relationships with their male teammates.
  • The locker room studies: public sexually aggressive talk
  • Results in eroticism vs. emotional intimacy
the rape culture
The Rape Culture
  • Whether they like it or not, most go along with it.
  • Some university athlete subcultures revealed: exploitation of women, ridicule, casual sex, sharing partners, rape, and gang rape, tied to both individual and group constructions of hegemonic masculinity.
locker room key site
Locker Room: Key Site
  • In the locker room, aggressive and abusive talk toward women is probably mostly just talk. However….
  • That men use it to forge erotic bonds safely among themselves helps to explain the vehemence with which men defend this turf against, for instance, female news reporters.
fragile basis of men s bonding
Fragile Basis of Men’s Bonding
  • Men’s bonding is disrupted by female presence, especially that of a competent sports reporter rather than a debased, sexualized object.
  • With that kind of masculinity in the locker room, girls and women will continue to face sexual harassment in the sports world.
coed sport a theater for change
Coed Sport: A Theater for Change?
  • When women become athletes it is more difficult for men to perceive them as sexual objects.
  • The walls of sex segregation are crumbling: Little League, intramurals, health clubs, running, and volleyball.
  • Some warn against eroticizing male-female relationships in sport
pluses for coed sport
Pluses for Coed Sport
  • A place to hang out together where expectations around dating and sexuality can be backstage to sport, fun, exercise, or competition.
  • Coed sports participants may interact as jocks, fitness buffs, or team members. Cross-sex friendships are common. Appearance less important.
  • The women’s sports movement is a genuine quest by women for equality.
  • For control over their own bodies
  • For self-definition
  • Female team membership is one way to erode male hegemony
  • Coed sport may be another route to athletic equity
conclusion continued
Conclusion Continued
  • We are in a state of flux with sport a liberating potential
  • Dangers: cooption by media, distortion by homophobia, the legacy of the men’s locker room.
  • Power struggles around sexual politics in sport will persist. Women will continue asking, Whose body is this?