Why is homophobia in women and men sports a state of paranoia that can still be found in any modern day sports? The effects of this homophobic paranoia have created a culture that can be attributed to the social construction of our past and current societies. Modern day sports have made some progress in acceptance of gay and lesbian athletes, however many still face intolerance both in and out of the public’s eyes. Homophobia operates differently in both men’s and women’s sports, they both face expectations to different lengths. Yet share similar effects that hinder athletes professional and private life’s, which can all be attributed to addressing the homophobia in sports.
During the 19th century athleticism was seen as a natural path for manhood or “”masculinity””. In case of football many young men found the sport to be a right passage to becoming a man in the eyes of society. This was evident in most media involving coming to age stories for males. This kind of thinking strongly represents the culture of a male dominated society. Where as the norm was to be able to play football naturally and be rough and tough. However, if a male were unwilling to play football and unable to dominate the sport, they were seen as weak and undesirable. While the taboo of a gay sexuality in football became associated with the undesirables as a result from the views that most males had on football in society. Many young men adopted these views and beliefs in order to fit in with gender and be more accepted by the “”dominate”” males. Many view our current times as being more progressive than the 19th century, even though research found that 18 to 24-year-olds are twice as likely to admit that they would be embarrassed if their favourite player came out as gay (“”Homophobic views still prevalent in sport””, 2016). This kind of homophobia leaves many athletes afraid of coming out the closet from an young age and many remain this way through out there adult life. Many athletes are afraid of persecution, bullying and isolation despite their athleticism and success in sports. While playing sports has become a social construct in acting out male gender, it is quite the opposite for women who play sports.
Women in main media sports has become more popular in the last decade than the previous century alone. Unlike the men that play, Women are considered to be taboo and improper for the gender role of a female. While men are taught that some sports are a right of manhood, women on the other hand are shunned and considered outcasts for excelling in sports. Many men will consider women athletes to be different and associate their sexuality with being lesbian or a dyke. These athletes are looked down upon by a society who recognizes their athleticism and considers them to be unnatural and force them to feel isolated in their roles (Aulette & Wittner, 2015). Main sports media tends to shy away from female athletes and attempts to police sexaulity in sports .While a Department of Health and Human Services study found that 30% of suicides among young people are lesbian and gay youth who are so isolated and depressed that they kill themselves (“”Why Coaches Need to Address Homophobia in Athletics””, 2018). The effects of homaponbia amongst men and women athletes are different but can accounted for in similar ways.
Homophobia in sports can take extreme forms, such as lesbian or gay youth being stigmatized or experience violence at the hands of their peers. The perpetrators of such violence are often high school-aged young men, acting in groups. High School men who were taught as young males growing up that as a male in our society it is only honorable to be brave and strong, in order to fit into the heterosexual gender role of a male in our culture. The speer pressure for male athletes to appear masculine, whether they are gay or not, can have a lasting impact on that male’s personal and social development. For women, participation in sports is typically frowned upon because it is seen as the opposite to the expected societal norms created for women. Homophobia in sport tends to marginalize women and oddly create an opposite effect where unfeminine women are actually unwelcome in sports because they enforce the stereotype of the female athlete. Forcing women to hide their sexuality out of fear of being stereotyped, even though playing a sport as girl is already considered taboo, a kind of double sided effect for females. Tackling homophobia in sports improves the situation of lesbian and gay youth who are at greater risk of isolation and harmful behaviours. Dealing with homophobia removes barriers to participation in sports and makes sports a more welcoming place for females and males.
Homophobic views still prevalent in sport. (2016, September 21). Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://www.stonewall.org.uk/media-centre/media-release/homophobic-views-sport
Why Coaches Need to Address Homophobia in Athletics. (2018). Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/athletes/for-athletes/know-your-rights/coach-and-athletic-director-resources/coaches-need-address-homophobia-athletics/
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