The effect of discourses in port on gender identities

Essay by devindianoUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, October 2014

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The Effect of Discourses in Sport on Gender Identities

Devin Diano

Academic Writing 1000

Professor H. Connolly

April 14, 2014

For most athletes their sport careers sprouted at a young age, when it was all about playing outside with friends and family, and having fun. Whether playing catch with your dad in the backyard, kicking a ball around at the nearby park, or a game of street hockey on a summer day; most young boys and girls saw sports as no more then a fun past time, and a better alternative to sitting inside doing math homework. However, as athletes grow up and become involved in competitive and club sports, they are presented with discourses that are shaping their personalities, and building individual female and male gender identities. Sport has the remarkable ability to influence the foundation of an individual's identity.

Discourses in sport that create and challenge gender identities are seen in the forms of media and advertisement, social and cultural influences, and interactions between players and coaches. For the purpose of this paper, a thorough analysis will be done on three specific discourses in sport.

Looking at the effect of sport advertisement and media on male gender identities, it is evident that these influences are "machines for producing masculinity" (Aitchison, 2007), that are creating an image of what it means to be male. This is evident when viewing Sports Illustrated cover photo of male tennis star Rodger Federer. In contrast, Sports Illustrated's female advertisement of Eva Ivanovic presents a completely different image of what it means to be a female athlete, focusing mainly on aesthetics and sex appeal.

Secondly, one can look at social and cultural discourses in sport that are shaping gender identities. These discourses...