The Comm and Gender Spot

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Men Vs. Women

Many individuals categorize sports as those that are appropriate activities for men, those that are appropriate for women, and those that both men and women could participate in. The ideals behind how these sports are categorized boil down to society’s ideas about what are appropriate behaviors and characteristics for men and women.

Masculine sports are the ones that typically are highly competitive, those that are aggressive, and require stamina and discipline. These are many of the same qualities that society ascribes to being necessary in order to be considered a man. Sports that qualify as masculine include wrestling, football, weightlifting, and rugby.

In contrast, sports that are considered feminine are those that embody the characteristics of what society believes are necessary to be a woman: beauty, grace, and poise. Figure skating, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming are sports typically considered to be feminine.

Then you have your gender neutral sports. These sports typically aren’t characterized in the same way as the feminine or the masculine sports. Gender neutral sports include golf, skiing, and bowling.

Recently I’ve recorded (or will be recording) sporting events that you would not normally see, those where men and women compete together. Last week I watched Ice Wars, a professional ice skating competition when male and female ice skaters competed against each other. Today and tomorrow is the Wendy’s Three Tour Challenge where three members of the PGA tour, the Senior PGA tour, and the LPGA tour compete against each other in a golf event.

I find it fascinating that men and women can occasionally compete against each other in a feminine sport (ice skating) and a gender neutral sport (golf) but it is highly unlikely that you will see men and women competing together in a masculine sport. We’ve finally moved to a time where men and women can compete against each other, but in only sports were society deems it gender appropriate for them.

I guess only time will tell if we will ever see men and women competing against each other in traditionally masculine sports.


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