Organized sport has proved itself as an environment that fosters physical fitness, positive values, and inspiring morals while following patriarchal and sex binary narratives. Therefore, sports systems are based on sex segregation that matches the beliefs based on many socially constructed views on the difference between men and women.
This categorization hinders the sports participation of those who do not fit into the sex divisions because of their rejection of sex-normative gender ideas. Satzewich argues that organized sport is significantly affected by these gender ideas because of their focus on community and collaboration. For instance, a lot of gender norms and stereotypes are imposed on children and young people during their time in the sport.
Many former athletes suffer from mental health issues: female ice-skaters and gymnasts often develop severe body dysmorphia or eating disorders because of the beauty standards instilled into them by coaches and society. On the other hand, male boxers or fighters quite often struggle with aggression issues that are exacerbated by their constant physical injuries.
When it comes to my own experiences, my time in soccer has made me very aware of my masculinity. Within my community, professional sports were often highlighted as something only men were into. As a result, a particular kind of toxic culture formed, which rejected all potential notions of womanhood in connection with soccer.
While I myself am not a woman, the attitude of others has affected the way I view and behave. This led to me rejecting and repressing my emotions and vulnerabilities because, in sports, it is often deemed “feminine” with a negative connotation.
When I wanted to pursue dancing as a hobby, I was met with judgment and mockery from my male friends. They would argue that dancing was not for men and that I was shaming and belittling myself by participating in the sport. Some of my friends went as far as questioning my sexuality and distancing themself away from me.
I felt alienated and discouraged and soon after dropped the sport. This type of reaction could be explained by the fact that dancing is a sport that is thought to be traditional for women because of its focus on flexibility and grace. We live in a patriarchal system; therefore, anything feminine is considered inherently inferior to things that are masculine and fitting within the system. These systemic inequalities create issues for young people who do not fit within the existing value system and seek to break gender stereotypes.
In closing, I want to emphasize that my experiences as a person of color have greatly affected me. While many of them might be considered insignificant, I think it is still vital to discuss them. Oftentimes, people of color feel the need to bend over backward and conform to the circumstances the world makes around them, which can stifle them both mentally and physically.
In an interconnected and increasingly equitable world, it is necessary to establish stronger support systems for people of color. In addition, better education and accountability must be promoted to make more marginalized people feel comfortable in their communities.
- Issues in Sports: Gender Equality
- Transgender Women Athletes in Professional Sports
- Social Issues in Sports & Activities: Athletics
- Gender Identity in Athletics: “The Battle Over Title IX and Who Gets to Be a Woman in Sports”
- The Issue of Gender-Separated Sports
- The Problem of Gender Identity in Sports
- Gender Bias in Sports Commentary Observations
- Sexism and Gender Inequality in Sport