Sports, Games, and Play: Social and Psychological Viewpoints

By Jeffrey H. Goldstein | Go to book overview

6
Women and Sport

Carole A. Oglesby
Temple University


INTRODUCTION

Oh, the rest of this book is about women also. This is not a replication of the standard sociology/psychology of sport undergraduate text with one chapter on women, one chapter on blacks, and the rest of the text on what Mal Andrews called "business as usual" ( Andrews, 1974). When one embarks upon a psychological analysis of virtually any construct deemed influential in sport performance today, the underlying mechanisms for males and females appear to be very similar. The obvious exception in sport, as it was in Maccoby and Jacklin's general analysis of the psychology of sex differences ( 1974), is the aggression construct. What, then, is this chapter uniquely about? Comparable to the sport aggression variable, the other variable that demands special analysis for the sexes is gender identity. In the entire history of sport in western cultures, we see an activity that was only appropriate for males. I have argued elsewhere for the labeling of traditional sport as a sexual signature of masculinity ( Oglesby, 1985). Don Sabo ( 1985), a pioneer in the analysis of male gender identity and sport states,

. . . a main function of traditional sport is to teach conformity to patriarchal values . . . as a major vehicle for male socialization, sport does much to shape men's individual and collective behavior and consciousness along lines of male dominance and sexist values. (p. 1)

For females, on the other hand, the situation could hardly be more different. Sporting activity, in general, has been negatively encoded in

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