10-N3494 7/12/05 6:27 AM Page 132 Textual Portrayals of Female Athletes Liberation or Nuanced Forms of Patriarchy? victoria carty introduction Sport has been an area of society that has traditionally oppressed women by limiting their opportunity to participate. Mariah Nelson aptly reinforces this assertion: “We learned... that batting, catching, throwing, and jumping are not neutral, human activities, but somehow more naturally a male domain. In- sidiously, our culture’s reverence for men’s professional sports and its silence about women’s athletic accomplishments shaped, deﬁned, and limited how we felt about ourselves as women and men.” Since the implementation of Title IX in 1972, women and girls’ participation has increased dramatically in sports and ﬁtness, accompanied by broadening public support. Participation has improved in team and individual sports, many of which had conventionally been limited to males. Female athletes have broken out of the stereotypical women-designated sports such as ﬁgure skating, gymnastics, and tennis. Girls and women now play football, rugby, ice hockey, and wrestle and box as well. In addition to the material beneﬁts of op- portunities and rewards that females gain, equally signiﬁcant has been the un- covering of the construction of masculinity and the ideology of gender differ- ence.
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Aug 23, 2005