Playing with the Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal in Sports

By Eileen McDonagh; Laura Pappano | Go to book overview

6
BREAKING BARRIERS

Joe, we’re depending on those muscles for America.

—Franklin Roosevelt, speaking to Joe Louis
before the 1938 World Heavyweight boxing match.1

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt2


Sports as a Political Tool

So far we have argued that sports are more than entertainment, that they represent a site which reflects, reinforces, and constructs the meaning of race, class, and sex differences in American society. Beyond that, athletics can also be used to challenge inequalities and injustices that are inconsistent with the egalitarian promise of American society. We often see sports used as a conservative tool to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities and injustices. But sports can just as well be a transformative tool for deconstructing social norms that perpetuate old hierarchies and stereotypes of racial, class, and gender groups, thus producing what some refer to as the paradox of sports.3

-191-

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Playing with the Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal in Sports
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1- What’s the Problem? 1
  • 2- The Sex Difference Question 39
  • 3- Title IX- Old Norms in New Forms 77
  • 4- Sex-Segregated Sports on Trial 113
  • 5- Inventing Barriers 153
  • 6- Breaking Barriers 191
  • 7- Pass the Ball 225
  • Appendix A- Table 4.1. Sport Cases, Sex-Segregation Issues, Female Plaintiffs 261
  • Notes 275
  • Index 335
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