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Feminist theories- gender and sports and how it may be applied to the study of sport in society
Feminism is the concept or the movement which make women realize their rights and to make them realize their actual position in the society. From the beginning, men have oppressed women and have never let them express their views and intentions clearly. They have made a clear division of the areas that they think is appropriate for women and the areas that they think is not appropriate for women. But women should not confine themselves according to their rules. They should experiment their talents in different fields and should choose the field of their own choice. Feminist theory enables them to realize that women are also equal to men and they are no less than them. Women are capable to play good in the sports and they should be allowed to play and should be given proper facilities in the sports, as given to men.
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The concept of Feminism is used to highlight the gender inequalities in the society, which are obvious in all the fields of the society. Feminism consists of certain philosophies, theories and movements that were held in favor of gender equality. According to the feminists they are struggling for women to get the equal rights. The concept of feminism started in nineteenth and twentieth century. Feminism was considered to be the western phenomenon earlier. But as the time passed, it spread throughout the world. The women in different parts of the world became aware of their rights and have started a movement that favors the equality between the genders and make them realize their rights.
The women’s basic right is to get hold of her own life. It is not only the basic right of women but also the basic right for all the humans in the world. But women in the world are deprived to their rights. They are not allowed to live their lives in their own way or choice. They are not given the right of their bodily autonomy and integration. Men in their lives have to decide what they should do with their bodies. Domestic violence and sexual harassment are the examples of types of violence that women usually suffer in their lives. Sexual harassment is common when women go out to their work. And very few of them get up to speak against it.
After the concept of feminism, there comes Feminist theory, which is actually the implementation of ideas, which were included in feminism, into some theoretical disciplines. This theory explains the women’s role in society and how her life should be controlled only by her. The feminists believe in feminism, have explained women role in every field of life. According to them, women should take part in everything that men are already taking part. The examples are sociology, economics, philosophy, psychology and medical etc. The main objective of feminist theory is to get over the gender inequality and this gender inequality is the worse thing for women.
Everywhere in the world, they have to face this inequality and it is not justifiable in any case. Gender politics is also an area of main concern for feminists. Discrimination and stereotyping are one of the main problems and hurdles faced by women in the world. Discrimination on the basis of gender is what women cannot get control of, they are made women by God Almighty and there is no way that they could change themselves into men. Stereotyping is another problem for women.
Men are in the habit of stereotyping women and because of this stereotyping, they face a lot of problems in their workplaces. Women are considered to be a sex object around the world. The mentality of men cannot be changed in this regard. They can think of women not more than a sex object, who, according to them, cannot compete men in any case. Women are the victim of oppression in the society. Thus we can say that men had done their best to make women’s life miserable in every way. Now women can change this and they can only change it with will power and strong personality.
Feminist theory in Sports
Feminist theory became popular throughout the world in every field of the world. A sport is the field or area, where men dominated from the beginning. And it is very hard for them to digest that women can only play games and can compete them in every sport. Feminist theory was considered to be very important for sports women. They need to learn a lot about feminism and they need to tackle men in the play grounds. Stanley and Wise once wrote, “whatever situation I go into, whatever it is, wherever I go and whatever I do involves feminism- Because that’s me. Because that’s a part of my everyday interaction with people that I meet each and every day” (1993, p. 18 cited by Schacht, 1997, p. 4).
The athletes are the major victim of men chauvinism in the sports world. They are doing a tough job and they need to be guided properly, but they are not been guided or supported by their men colleagues. By taking a look at the sports boards in the recent years, it became clear that women football teams have played well and also women played well in basketball. Tennis is considered to be one of the most popular games in the world and there are a large number of females playing the game and competing men in the play grounds.
In the beginning, when the competitions between the girls and boys teams were started in high schools and colleges, many people dint feel comfortable with this idea. They reject this idea and the very first thought that strikes their mind was that what if guys lost the game; they will feel the embarrassment of loosing from the girls.
The reason they give was mainly the biological reasons. Biologically, the women’s physique is different from that of the men. But it doesn’t mean that they should be kept away from sports and should not be given a chance to play the games and should not be allowed to take part in sports. These were some of the excuses that were faced by women who planned to make a career in sports.
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The feminist theory encourages them to fight these reasons and to tell people that they are not biologically weaker than boys. Of course there is a difference between the physique of women and men but this doesn’t mean that women should be kept away from sports or should be considered amateur in the games. They should fight back these constraints.
A female player must be strong enough to be firm on her decision and she should stick to her goal. The practice sessions in any sports are an important part of the game. No player can gain proficiency in the game unless and until she practices a lot and make her perfect during the practice sessions. The male dominance in the play fields during the practice sessions is a problem faced by female players. Men cannot think of women who can come to their level and do the same things which they are doing.
They want to oppress her in a way that she should turn away from sports. The main reason behind them is the chauvinist mentality that women can only do the households and are strong enough to give birth to a child and raise him. But thinking of women as a player – one day she will be playing against them and may be that she can beat them, she can make more scores than them or may be that she can break their previous records and can get more famous than men. So the men are afraid that women can break down their control over the sports and games in the world.
Men got a strong politics in sports and games. They are afraid that their politics and dominance could be get affected by women entering in the filed. So they try their best to keep the women away from the sports. They try politically as well, all men present in that particular part would get united against women and won’t let them do anything. The will create problems for them and they will do their best to make them step aside from their decision.
Though there are great opportunities for women in the field of sports. They are determined and hardworking and they do their best to achieve their target. They got all the talents which are needed to be the winner in sports. By practicing hard they can easily get proficiency in the game. But it seems that men are also trying their best to keep them away.
The women should learn from the feminist theory that they should stand up for their rights in this male dominant society. They should stand firmly and should not let themselves weakened by the tactics of men that they play to make them stay away from the playgrounds. Women are strong; they are hardworking and capable enough to play the game and to beat men, so they should go ahead.
- Browne, Connors, and Stern, ed. ( 1985) With the Power of Each Breath: A Disabled Women’s Anthology. Cleis Press.
- Burke, M. “Could a ‘Woman’ Win a Gold Medal in the ‘Men’s’ One Hundred Metres?Female Sport, Drugs and the Transgressive Cyborg Body.” Philosophy in the
Contemporary World (Accepted for Publication, 2003).
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