Evaluate the competing ways in which sociologists have examined how gender exerts a significant influence over a person’s involvement with sport.
Within sport, gender has played a huge role the way it affects one’s involvement in participation. As I will explore sociologically in this essay, there are a great number of reasons why this has occurred and still does occur, and the way in which pre-conceived ideas and stereotypes along with many other things affect sport involvement.
One of the key points to evaluate here is the argument that males biologically have an advantage in the majority of sports. In the vast number of cases this is true, however this should not be a reason why females are either discriminated against or feel pressurised to not participate in a sport. In a study done by McArdle, Katch & Katch in 1981, it was shown that among Western adults, men are around 50 percent stronger than women1. One thing that is important to point out here is that the average female has not been encouraged to participate in activities that would develop the growth and potential of muscles in the same way men have been encouraged to do. The stereotype that women should be slender and with little muscle does not aid this particular viewpoint on women’s sport. This leads on to the point of the history of female sport and the view on women’s roles in society. The earlier you go back in history, the more the viewpoint has existed that women are there to aid the husband in the house and bring up the children whilst he is out earning the money. This was very much the case and still is in some cultures, which inhibited and inhibits women from participating in sport because they simply do not have the time for it. As Spears (1978) said in his study, “Only the exceptional woman was involved in sport”2. I think it is fair to say however, that this viewpoint is quite clearly changing because participation in female sport is at an all time high at the moment. According to...
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