Men, Women and Gender Boundaries in Sports Essay

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Men, Women and Gender Boundaries in Sports

Today, we are seeing many changes in regard to gender and its place in the athletic world. More than ever, men and women are crossing "gender boundaries" and entering a non-traditional sport for their sex. Of course this boundary crossing is significant culturally and socially as it challenges conventional view of male and female characteristics and roles. When altering a customary view of gender in a society, there are both costs and benefits to that society. This paper will discuss the costs and benefits to a traditionally male-centered culture when women and men cross gender lines in sport, and provide examples of different sports in which gender lines are being erased.

Allowing men
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Prejudice in any form cannot afford to exist in the international community if we all hope to live together in peace and progress. Women play an important role in this community, including the world of sports. Females need to be taken seriously in athletics if they are to be taken seriously at all. To say that a female cannot play sports is to imply that she is weaker than a male, and thus her worth and credibility are tarnished. Boxing, for example, is a traditional male sport that women were not encouraged to participate in until fairly recently. However, women such as Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier demonstrate that women can not only be good boxers, but champion boxers. Also, bodybuilding is a traditional male sport in which women have been participating. Andrea Silva-Izard and Laura Binetti are two currently well-known body builders. Even another "male" sport into which women have made an entrance is racecar driving. Sarah Fisher and Allison Duncan are two well-known drivers.

Yet, allowing women into "male" sports only solves half the problem of gender equality. Men must be allowed to participate in sports traditionally seen as female orientated. Although I tried to research men who might be competing in "female" sports such as field hockey and synchronized swimming, I was only able to find information on the United States Men's

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