Female Athletes And Gender Roles

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There are so many issues when it comes to gender roles, gender norms, and gender identities. Many men and women in today’s society freely choose the way they want to present themselves to society; which is either masculine or feminine. A lot of these characteristics are accepted, and a lot are not accepted in society today. There are many social stigmas that come along with being a female athlete; meaning there is major social criticism with how they choose to present themselves to society. Gender is a symbol for a strong system of norms that analyzes and leads the behavior of men and women (Schur 1984; Blinde and Taube 1992).
So why are female athletes portrayed in such a polarized fashion? Female athletes are strong, powerful, and
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I’m also going to discuss societies views of why and how female athletes portray themselves and why it’s not acceptable.

Gender Polarization

Gender polarization is an idea that discusses how American society describes the difference between femininity and masculinity. According to Krane (2004), female athletes are expected to fulfill certain hegemonic femininity while refraining from any masculine ways. Common behaviors construct and reinforce gendered practices as well as differential distribution of privilege, power, and resources. Behaviors that are acceptable for men are, and should not be seen as suitable behaviors for women. In western culture, it is stressed that a womanly body figure and behavior contradicts with a body and behavior of an athlete (Krane et al. 2004).
The theory of gender polarization extends from explaining the difference between sex and gender. Sex is what you are born as (i.e. man or woman). Gender is how one chooses to present themselves society. Women in today’s society hold up to certain qualities that they should maintain. Sometimes it’s hard for a female athlete to convey these qualities because of how they carry themselves. Carty (2005) says that images perceived to be more of a traditional feminine role (i.e. sensual, dependency, value the importance of family and relationships, etc.) are downplayed. That way the female athletes can promote
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