Moving the Goalposts: A History of Sport and Society since 1945

By Martin Polley | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Sport and gender

INTRODUCTION

Gender is an important issue in contemporary sport. The cultural field in general has increasingly become an area for public discussion and negotiation of the roles and identities of men and women, and the relations between them. This has taken place in an increasingly noticeable way because of the major changes that have occurred in gender relations since 1945. 1 While British society is still essentially patriarchal in terms of men dominating economic and political power, there have been a number of notable challenges to this settlement. These include the consolidation of women's presence in the workplace, the coming of age for generations of men and women for whom women's political enfranchisement was assumed, the emergence of feminism and women's liberation as political and cultural movements, the public debate over sexual orientations which has included the limited legalisation of homosexuality, and developments in birth control. These changes have inspired academic and popular debate: first, on the issues of equality between men and women; and latterly, about the way in which masculine and feminine identities are culturally constructed and contested, and the relations between them. While the continuation of an essentially patriarchal power structure has not been prevented by these developments, various common-sense assumptions in everyday discourse suggest that inequalities of opportunity in various fields are no longer acceptable.

For the academic debate on these developments, sport has provided a focus for historical, sociological, cultural studies, and gender studies analyses of gender relations and identities. Sport has been seen so clearly as 'an institution created by and for men'. 2 With its emphasis on public physical performance, it is frequently used as an index of

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Moving the Goalposts: A History of Sport and Society since 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Sport, Politics, and the State 12
  • Chapter 2 - Sport, the Nation, and the World 35
  • Chapter 3 - Sport, Commerce, and Sponsorship 63
  • Chapter 4 - Sport and Gender 85
  • Chapter 5 - Sport, Social Class, and Professional Status 111
  • Chapter 6 - Sport and Ethnicity 135
  • Conclusion 160
  • Notes 172
  • Bibliography 204
  • Index 223
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