Gender Stereotypes

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Two of America's most popular rituals are beauty pageants and football games. Emma Knight, a former Miss USA who wrote Miss USA, and John McMurtry a professor of philosophy, who wrote Kill "˜Em! Crush "˜Em! Eat "˜Em Raw!, explain about the significant symbols, which are now tradition in our country. Both football and beauty pageants exhibit masculinity and femininity and put people on display. While at the same time these occurrences express our basic cultural themes.

Pageant girls and football players exploit femininity and masculinity to an extreme. Knight states, "I was considered old for a beauty queen, which is a little horrifying when you're twenty-two. That's very much part of the beauty queen syndrome: the young, untouched, unthinking human being"(p.333). Femininity starts at such a young age for these girls and the only thing they are taught to value as people, exists on looks. According to Knight, "It's mostly what's known as t an a, tits and ass.

No talent"(p.332). This is because as children they have grown up with influential people telling them it's not acceptable to have imperfections. As they age their looks will deteriorate and most likely weight will be gained, which will only lead to a lower self-esteem. The Miss America pageant exemplifies desirability and success, delivering the subtle message that thin is in.

Football players are no different from the pageant girls. These men are suited up in so much padding and equipment before a game, it makes a man look tough and powerful. McMurtry states, "[Football]It is a sport in which body wreckage is one of the leading conventions"(p. 350). Football started when the English soldiers celebrated a victory and took skulls of dead enemies and had kicking matches at a grave yard. McMurtry also shows examples of football being compared to, "killing...