Karen S. Autrey
Nike had made great gains with highly successful advertising campaign that positioned the corporation as the champion of girls’ and women’s rights inside and outside of sports. One influential TV spot included images of athletically active girls and women, with the voice-over saying things like, “If you let me play, I’ll be less likely to drop out of school.” (Dworkin and Messner 556)
In the above example, Nike is showing support to women athletes by advertising women athletic footwear. Because of this participation, Nike has influenced other corporations to do the same by making great gains for their support. For years gender separation has existed and mainly alienating women from some topics. Shari L. Dworkin and Michael A. Messner, who both hold degrees in gender studies, review a list of academic studies and discuss the different roles that gender play within our American sport culture in the article “Just Do…What? Sport, Bodies, Gender.” Judith Lorber, who writes “Nights to His Day:’ The Social Construction of Gender,” is highly interested in changing conceptions of gender. She believes that gender separation must exist or it could very well be revolutionary if women are not held to specific standards of femininity and masculinity. According to Jean Kilbourne, advertising plays an important role in consumer behaviors; what can seem normal for some, can be dangerous and insulting for others. Although it may be dangerous and insulting, advertisement is gender separated to target certain gender specific. In spite of the best efforts on trying to keep an equal opportunity and integrate the genders, gender separation must still exist. First, sports must remain gender specific; next, marketing must remain gender specific; finally, military must remain gender specific.
First, sports must remain gender specific. Sports exist as gender specific by the type of sport, such as football or bodybuilding. Football has been strictly gender specific for several years. Throughout the lifetime of the sport of football, women fail to exist as actively involved participants. On the other hand, men dominate the sport of football. Because football remains a full contact sport and the players that make a football team, leagues like the National Football League have been one hundred percent men only dismissing the probability of women joining the sport. Another sport that supports the idea of gender specific just in a slightly different way is bodybuilding. Bodybuilding has been a sport highly ignored by people except for those that appreciate the human body’s composition. Although women have been participating in bodybuilding just as much as men have, the competition itself and the judging have always been separated by gender. Women still get judged for their different body composition than the men’s body. In the sport of bodybuilding, women have been known to be judged on femininity from time to time. “Female bodybuilders have faced penalties from judges for being too muscular, and they are rewarded for appearing with painted fingernails, dyed and highlighted hair, and breast implants. In short, their muscle size and body comportment is expected to be made consistent with emphasized femininity”(560). In cases like these, gender separation must still exist because it would not be fair for a woman to be rewarded for any of those appearance appeals when a man would not have those. A third sport that is gender specific is wrestling. Wrestling is a sport that must still be gender separated due to the fact that men and women’s physical capabilities remain different by nature. The physical abilities between men and women are different when strength and speed come into play. It just would not be fair to put a woman and a man in the ring together when it has been proven that men’s strength and speed is far more capable to overcome that of a woman. Several sports,...
Cited: Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.
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