This is a man’s world: Masculinity and Sports Culture

After careful research I have come to the conclusion that being a male does not necessarily equal masculinity and manhood. There are multiple types of masculinities that are formed from race, class, sexuality and etc. Certain masculinities are seen as hegemonic. An example of a masculinity that is seen as dominant may be male government officials with power and money or a violent, heterosexual, strong male. Individuals who have resources obtain their masculinity through having power. These resources may include money and who you know. Those who do not have resources, gain their masculinity through strength and toughness. The best way to signal how tough you are is through sports or military. In the next few paragraphs I will discuss media sports coverage’s view of what it means to be masculine as well as how women sports are almost entirely excluded from coverage. I will also discuss why I believe that sports are a man’s world.

According to the article When in Rome, media sports coverage centers around heterosexuality and masculinity. The article points to the fact that when men are not as tough as they should be whether it is on the field or the court they will be ridiculed. It also mentions how being considered feminine is the worst thing that you can be called in the sports world. A quarter back went as far as knocking someone out of a chair for being called a tennis player. Tennis is now seen as a feminine sport and quarter backs are supposed to be extremely tough. This incident isn’t the first time that players were ridiculed. For example if a football player throws the ball a certain way sports media coverage may say he throws like a girl. These comments show that acting feminine in sports will have certain consequences because being feminine means being weak. Since being tough is seen as masculine, there are often time where players will have to man up and get over pain quickly, but people don’t realize how dangerous these sports can be. In this critique it discusses how dangerous always being tough can be and the effects of such demanding work.



These images clearly show how violence is seen as a must in male sports culture. In the article Advertising and construction of violent white masculinity, It states that “violent behavior is typically gendered masculine. That doesn’t mean that all men are violent, but violent behavior is considered masculine”.  When you listen to athletes they often refer to the game as a war. They make comments such as “if I don’t kill him, he may kill me. This comment was noted in the movie, it’s not just a game. For women in sports culture this is not the same. When women make threats they often lose endorsement deals or get suspended from future matches or games for not acting like a lady. An example of this was when Serena threatened an individual and she lost major endorsement deals. Another example of how violence is seen as a must in male sports culture but not female sports culture is in this video clip.

Heterosexuality is also seen as a must in sports culture and sports media. In studies when athletes are asked whether or not they would want someone gay on their team quite a few said no. Their fear was that they would be watched in the shower, or may be purposely rubbed up on during plays. This is probably the reason that many players who are gay wait until after retirement to come out of the closet. In the article heterosexual privilege there are many hidden privileges to being heterosexual and these privileges are seen in the sports world too. Examples include: not having to experience pure hatred and jokes about your sexuality, not having to hide your sexuality because your sexuality is viewed as normal. There are many more privileges as well. In sports media coverage athletes as well as hosts insult and express hatred towards homosexual individuals.  This shows that being heterosexual is masculine. I did notice that for different sports the question of having gay people on the team had very different answers.

Another thing that caught my attention was how much time reporters spent on male sports teams rather than female sport teams. This shows that sports culture clearly believes that sports are for males and that male sport teams are way more important. Therefore masculinity and sports culture clearly go together. It was mentioned in the movie It’s not just a game that sports coverage of women has decreased over the years. It also stated that when women sports are shown it’s often the sports that require women to be barely clothed. This is why I consider the sports culture to be a man’s world. I believe that beach volleyball is often covered because media coverage of sports wants to present things that males care about.

In conclusion to be considered masculine in sports culture or media you must be tough, built, heterosexual and dominant. If you are a female that behaves this way you are punished, ridiculed or considered to be gay. Media coverage will focus on male’s sports rather than females. These things to me are bull crap to me because I know for a fact that you can be homosexual and masculine and just because you are a woman and take sports seriously does not mean that you are gay.


Katz, J. “Advertising and The Construction of Violent White Masculinity: From BMWs to Bud Light.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader. Ed. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. 3rd ed. Sage Publications, Inc. 1995. 261-269. Print.

Nylund, D. “When in Rome”. Heterosexism, homophobia, and sports talk radio. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 28(2), Sage Publications, Inc. 2004.  136-168. Print.

Katz, J. ” Heterosexual privilege”. Owning my advantage, uncovering my collusion. working effectively with cultural diversity, Cultural diversity at work, November 1997. Print.

Not just a game. Dir. Jeremy Earp. Produced by Chris Boulton, Jeremy Earp, Scott Morris & Jason Young. 2010. Film.

Martin, T. The Disincentives to Combat Concussions in Professional Sports. Los Angeles Times,, May 25, 201. Print.

Aggressive crazy soccer must see. Mariaangel1482. August 13, 2011.

Shaq photo.

boxing photo.

One comment

  1. I thought that the video of the female soccer player was quite interesting. She is clearly aggressive, and on occasion she is downright violent. The reporters respond to this by calling it “unsports-like” and portraying it as intentional, unacceptable behavior. In this video clip, ESPN analysts discuss Metta World Peace and how he elbowed a fellow basketball player Metta is widely known for his aggressive and violent basketball antics. However, throughout the video, despite disagreeing with his behavior and clearly stating he should be suspended, some of the analysts go out of their way to say they don’t know whether it was intentional. They also go into a great deal of time after that discussing whether or not it was intentional, accidental, and his behavior after the elbow. This debate was not present in coverage of the female soccer player. Males, when they are violent, are not always depicted as intentional aggressors. Rather, their intent is questioned and more seen as a “part of the game” or a mishap. Whereas when a female gets violent, her intentions are portrayed as unsports-like and purposeful right off the bat because females are seen as less likely to get aggressive. There are also many other examples, in the NFL as well, where extremely violent behavior is looked at and even sometimes laughed at when its males. If a female did the same type of thing, it would not be laughed at. Media would most likely scorn her and condemn her behavior, marking it as unacceptable because of the female “victims.” If a male gets hit, he can go down for a few seconds and then get back up, so no one takes a second glance. If a female gets hurt it is expected that she will stay down for a while, or leave the game because of some terrible act of aggression against her by a fellow female who is out of the norm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


a critical forum on television and media culture

Gender, Race, & Sexuality in Pop Culture. Feminist cultural critiques happen here.

In Media Res

Gender, Race, & Sexuality in Pop Culture. Feminist cultural critiques happen here.

WGSS 2230:

Gender, Race, & Sexuality in Pop Culture. Feminist cultural critiques happen here.

%d bloggers like this: