Hegemonic Masculinitys Role In Maintaining Patriarchal Power Sociology

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Sport is an country in which patriarchal power is at the same time contested and reproduced ( Messner, 1988 ; Sabo & A ; Messner, 1993 ) . Harmonizing to Messner ( 1988 ) , in an attempt to reaffirm white, middle-class, male domination in early nineteenth century America, organized athletics was constructed. The kingdom of athletics was considered to be a adult male ‘s sphere in which hegemonic maleness could be performed, assisting to maintain adult females and certain work forces ( i.e. , lower category, work forces of colour ) marginalized ( Messner, 1988 ) . When adult females began to come in into the male-dominated universe of athletics, patriarchal power and privilege were threatened as the binary gender system, which is indispensable for the care of patriarchate, was being challenged ( Duncan, 1992 ; Messner, 1988 ; Sabo & A ; Messner, 1993 ) . In order to procure male power, a recoil against adult females jocks was deployed ( see Faludi, 1991, for a more elaborate analysis of attempts to keep male power ) . Aided by the media, the usage of hegemonic maleness, which can be seen as an forming agent that naturalizes ( evident ) differences between work forces and adult females every bit good as heterosexualism, can be seen as a manner in which female jocks were subordinated both on and off of the athleticss field ( Bryson, 1994 ; Connell, 1987 ; Messner, 1988, 2002 ) .

Although many believe America has entered into a post-feminist epoch in which work forces and adult females are treated every bit, athletics is an country in which the differential intervention of adult females is evident. Indeed, aside from stuff inequalities ( e.g. , Thomas, 2009 ) , adult females, as a consequence of hegemonic maleness, continue to be oppressed in assorted ways. Using a feminist position, this article will explain the ways in which hegemonic maleness within athletics plants to continue male power while repressing female jocks. The recent media attending that Elizabeth Lambert received after moving sharply in a 2009 college association football lucifer will be analyzed as an illustration of the manner ( s ) in which female jocks continue to be policed.

Hegemonic masculinity-based on Antonio Gramsci ‘s construct of hegemony-is that which is the dominant signifier of maleness in a peculiar civilization at a given clip ( Connell, 1987 ) . Harmonizing to Connell ( 1987 ) , hegemonic maleness works to keep the power of the dominant members of society. As such, in America, hegemonic maleness is based on White, middle-class, heterosexual impressions of what constitutes “ manliness ” : aggression, individualism, power, strength, and force. Even though most work forces do non, and will ne’er, embody hegemonic maleness, society ‘s mostly undisputed credence of hegemonic maleness, and rejection and belittling of other signifiers of maleness ( e.g. , malenesss constructed and performed by cheery work forces ) and muliebrity, aid to reproduce White male power and privilege ( Connell, 1987 ) . Hegemonic maleness, with the aid of the media, can be seen to form the kingdom of athletics, guaranting that adult females continue to be subordinated, in two ways: Through the hypostatization of both the binary gender system ( e.g. , Messner & A ; Bozada-Deas, 2009 ; Lorber, 1993 ) and mandatory heterosexualism ( e.g. , Kolnes, 1996 ) .

Keeping the Gender Binary

Clarke and Clarke ( 1982 ) noted that athletics is an country in which differences between the sexes are made to look as innate and natural ( Clarke & A ; Clarke, 1982 ) . As male power is contingent upon the binary gender system, which constructs difference between work forces and adult females ( Jackson, 2005 ) , such naturalisation of ( looking ) difference between the sexes is necessary to uphold patriarchate. Indeed, if gender were genuinely performed on a continuum, doing it hard to separate between work forces and adult females, it would be much more hard ( though non impossible ) for work forces to keep power. Female jocks who challenge the innateness of such prescribed gender functions and public presentation, hence, work to destabilise male power and privilege ( Sabe & A ; Messner, 1993 ) . Hegemonic maleness within athletics ensures that gender differences ( which can be considered a societal concept ) continue to look as though they are natural, assisting to perpetuate patriarchate.

As explicated by Messner ( 1988 ) , since hegemonic maleness basically constructs athletics, it is no happenstance that the most popular American athleticss are those that require the most strength, tallness, and physical aggression. Through this lens, activities such as ice hockey, football, and hoops are deemed as “ existent ” athleticss, while athleticss such as figure skating and synchronised swimming, which require more traditionally feminine qualities such as coordination and grace, are devalued and marginalized. By valorizing the athleticss that cater to the utmost possibilities of the male organic structure ( as work forces on norm have more musculus mass and are taller than adult females ) , differences between work forces and adult females are made to look as innate. Additionally, work forces ‘s ( supposed ) laterality within the field of athletics is reified. If, on the other manus, athleticss that cater to the female organic structure ( such as long distance, cold H2O swimming ) received more acknowledgment, the impression ( s ) that work forces are 1 ) different than adult females ; and 2 ) dominant over adult females, may be dismantled-something that hegemonic maleness helps to forestall ( Messner, 1988 ) .

Another manner in which hegemonic maleness reproduces the binary gender system is through the employment of gender-modified athleticss. Indeed, if adult females were seen to be as aggressive, strong, and fearless as work forces ( masculine traits ) -and play athleticss every bit good as men-the binary gender system, and later male power, would be threatened. As such, many athleticss ( e.g. , lacrosse, hoops, ice hockey, gymnastic exercises ) have been modified, doing them more “ appropriate ” for adult females ( Cahn, 1994 ; Lorber, 1993 ; Theberge, 2002 ) . The chief intent of such alteration of athletics is to assist concept and reproduce differences between the sexes, and minimising maleness in adult females. Lorber ( 1993 ) , for illustration, argued that adult females ‘s gymnastic exercises, which required efforts best carried out by thin and physically little organic structures, was designed for prepubertal misss ; conversely, work forces ‘s gymnastic exercises, which demands a great trade of physical strength, was designed for work forces. Additionally, adult females ‘s gymnastic exercises requires more traditionally feminine traits, while work forces ‘s gymnastic exercises allows for a higher grade of masculine features. In this case, in add-on to, one time once more, conveying the message that work forces and adult females are inherently different, the baleful nature of a strong, athletic adult female is minimized by wipe outing her from athletics wholly.

A 3rd manner in which the gender double star is maintained in athletics through hegemonic maleness is through athleticss organisations. Sports organisations, whether they are a kid ‘s athleticss conference ( Messner & A ; Bozada-Deas, 2009 ) , or a outstanding state organisation ( Hovden, 2006 ) , can be seen to be fraught with the same inequalities that affect other countries of life. More specifically, work forces are found to keep places of power, while adult females are cast in the more supportive, peripheral functions ( Hovden, 2006 ; Messner & A ; Bozada-Deas, 2009 ) . For illustration, when research workers Messner and Bozada-Deas ( 2009 ) analyzed the distribution of labour in a kid ‘s athleticss conference, work forces were found to keep the place of manager or adjunct manager more often than adult females, while adult females ( ever ) assumed the function of squad parent. When asked to explicate the evident gender differences in the distribution of labour, participants offered both neoliberal and essentialist replies, imputing such a labour distribution to either single pick or innate qualities that each sex seemingly possessed ( e.g. , adult females are of course more domestic and hence do better squad parents than work forces ) . Though non explicitly stated as such, the effects of hegemonic maleness were so imbued in many of the participants ‘ answers-answers that justified inequality be indicating to purportedly innate differences.

Compulsory Heterosexuality

Another facet of hegemonic maleness that helps to prolong patriarchal power is its trust on heterosexualism. Indeed, as explained by theoretician Stevi Jackson ( 2005 ) , male power is perpetuated through heterosexual relationships in which work forces can rule adult females, working both their gender and unpaid labour ( Jackson, 2005 ) . In order to shore up adult females ‘s attractive force to, and trust upon, work forces, society is structured in a heteronormative manner, assisting to make the semblance that heterosexualism is the most normal and natural signifier of gender ( Ingraham, 1994 ) . Adrienne Rich ( 1980 ) described this happening as compulsory heterosexualism, saying that in a patriarchal society, adult females are socialized in a manner that makes their engagement in heterosexualism compulsory, as opposed to but one of many options ( Rich, 1980 ) .

As work forces derive much power from heterosexual dealingss, one nucleus portion of hegemonic maleness involves heterosexualism. With respect to feature, mandatory heterosexualism can be seen to be constructed in through 1 ) accent on females ‘ ( jocks or spouses of male jocks ) relationship to work forces, either function as a married woman, female parent, or girlfriend ; and 2 ) sapphic stigma. Female jocks, for case, are often depicted in ways that minimize their athletic art, and stress their muliebrity and heterosexualism. Shugart ( 2003 ) and Christopherson, Janning and McConnel ( 2002 ) , in their reappraisals of adult females ‘s 1999 World Cup Coverage, noted that an extortionate sum of attending was paid to the adult females jocks ‘ relationships-such as their position as a married woman or mother- , every bit good as their ( hetero ) sexual attraction ( Christopherson et al. , 2002 ; Shugart, 2003 ) . Such sexualization of female jocks plants to shift them as objects of ( heterosexual ) male desire. In this manner, adult females who are overthrowing gender functions by take parting in masculine athleticss are realigned with traditionally feminine functions as in which they are low-level to work forces ( Messner, 2002 ) .

Even within “ newer ” athleticss, such as snowboarding, which seek to distance themselves from the corporate, elitist nature of traditional athletics, such mandatory heterosexualism is seen. In a survey by Anderson ( 1999 ) , when male snowboarders were asked to explicate the presence of female snowboarders, many participants posited that most female snowboarders were on the inclines because their fellows snowboarded. The work forces being interviewed negated the bureau and athletic ability of the adult females snowboarders, while reaffirming their laterality over adult females, through their insisting that adult females were non genuinely interested in snowboarding: their existent involvement was the work forces ( Anderson, 1999 ) .

The sapphic stigma is another manner in which compulsory heterosexualism is maintained through athletics. As noted by assorted athletics sociologists Cahn ( 1993, 1994 ) and Messner ( 1988 ) , in both the early 1900s, when first wave feminist attempts were underway, and once more undermentioned World War II, when work forces returning from war felt as though their authorization in the place was undermined by adult females ‘s engagement in the work force, maleness was considered to be in “ crisis. ” Sport-a premier country in which adult females ‘s engagement threatened male power-was one kingdom in which attempts were made to re-secure work forces ‘s laterality. Imputing the label of “ sapphic ” to any adult female who did non fit traditional criterions of muliebrity, was one manner in which male power was reaffirmed. The sapphic label, which many ( heterosexual ) adult females found to be an onslaught on their individuality, ensured that female jocks went out of their manner to show themselves in feminine, as opposed to masculine ( i.e. , endangering ) ways. Additionally, the stigmatized sapphic label worked to hold adult females who did non fit traditional criterions of feminine beauty as “ pervert, ” or “ non existent adult females. ” This helped to perpetuate the impression that true adult females are feminine, different from, and attracted to, work forces ( Cahn, 1993, 1994 ; Messner, 1988 ) .

Female jocks ‘ insisting upon battling the sapphic stigma within athletics by executing heterosexualism and hegemonic muliebrity can be seen as a manner in which female jocks both support homophobia and collude with their ain subjugation ( Eng, 2008 ; Felshin, 1974 ; Festle, 1996 ; Krane, 2001 ) . Scholars have argued, nevertheless, that as athletics is controlled, in big portion, by work forces ( Bryson, 1994 ) , failure to conform to a traditionally feminine ideal can be damaging to one ‘s calling, ensuing in a loss necessities, such as corporate sponsorship and promotion ( Kolnes, 1995 ; Wright & A ; Clarke, 1999 ) . As a consequence of such heterosexual jussive mood within athletics, sapphic being is denied ( Griffin, 1992 ) . This erasure of sapphic gender is so permeant throughout athletics, apparent even in purportedly authorising movies that have the power to overthrow antediluvian norms sing female jocks ( Caudwell, 2009 ) . In the terminal, mandatory heterosexualism can be seen to boom as a consequence of the denial and belittling of different signifiers of female gender.

Intersection of Oppressions

Therefore far, an explication of the ways in which hegemonic maleness within athletics plants to keep male power has been provided. It should be noted, nevertheless, that merely as hegemonic maleness sustains certain work forces ‘s power and privilege ( Connell, 2987 ; Davis, 1997 ) , it besides oppresses adult females in assorted ways as female jocks can non be lumped into one homogeneous class ( Hargreaves, 1994 ) . Indeed, adult females face an intersection of subjugations as they are non simply adult females: they are adult females of a certain race, category, ability, age, gender, geographic location, faith, and state ( Hurtado, 1989 ) . As such, the manner in which hegemonic maleness works to suppress adult females within athletics varies. Cahn ( 1994 ) , for case, noted that the sapphic stigma did non blight the African American female jock in the mid 1900s in the same was that it did White jocks. The chief ground for this was due to strictly racist political orientations: African American adult females were considered to be “ of course ” more masculine and animalistic. By using racialist thoughts and dehumanising Black adult females athletes, male power was able to be maintained as such adult females were non considered to be existent adult females, and hence their athletic art was non endangering to the binary gender system, heterosexualism, and, overall, ( White ) work forces ‘s power and privilege ( Cahn, 1994 ) .

The Maintenance of Male Power through Covert Means: The Elizabeth Lambert Incident

As antecedently stated, hegemonic maleness helps to reproduce patriarchate within athletics by guaranting that the binary gender system remains integral, and heterosexualism remains mandatory. A decennary into the twenty-first century, nevertheless, it is hard for those terminals to be achieved in more crying ways. As a consequence, the reproduction of patriarchate is contingent upon more elusive agencies of favoritism. For illustration, while wholly neglecting to cover adult females ‘s athleticss in the media is no longer acceptable ( a more open signifier of favoritism ) , the manner in which the events are framed and discussed aid to minimize adult females and understate their strenuosity. More elusive schemes that are used include mentioning to adult females as “ misss ” or “ ladies ” ( McGinnis & A ; Gentry, 2002 ; Messner, Duncan, & A ; Jensen, 1993 ) , and sexualising the footage shown of female jocks ( Duncan & A ; Hasbrook, 2002 ) . The Elizabeth Lambert incident ( which includes both the existent event every bit good as, if non more significantly, the resulting commentary ) will be analyzed as it is a primary illustration of how the binary gender system, every bit good as heterosexualism, is sustained through athletics.

The Incident and the Framing of the Incident

In a 2009 NCAA adult females ‘s association football lucifer between New Mexico University ( NMU ) and Brigham Young University ( BYU ) , one of the NMU participants, Elizabeth Lambert, acted sharply towards a BYU participant, seemingly drawing her to the land by her ponytail and kicking and pluging her in other cases during the lucifer ( Longman, 2009a ) . The media attending that this incident received, every bit good as the public call against Lambert, which ranged from decease menaces to day of the month petitions, can be seen as a premier illustration of an case in which a adult female steps outside of her designated gender function, and is later punished. Two chief countries that will be analyzed include the media framing of the event, every bit good as the types of ( negative ) responses that were directed towards Lambert following the event.

As antecedently stated, Elizabeth Lambert obviously acted sharply toward another participant in a association football lucifer. What precisely she did, nevertheless, cipher genuinely knows. Indeed, unless one was watching an unedited picture of the event or was c lose to the field and paid complete attending to Lambert ‘s every move, one ‘s cognition of her actions are based upon how the media portrayed the event. Lambert, for case, contends that while she did draw the BYU participant to the land by her ponytail, the media made it look as though her actions throughout the game were much worse than they truly were ( Longman, 2009b ) . As intelligence narratives and featuring events are framed in assorted ways in order to accomplish an intended consequence ( e.g. , Hardin, Lynn, Walsdorf, & A ; Hardin, 2002 ) , is it really likely that the media portraitures of this incident were made to look more violent and aggressive than they truly were.

Using the old treatment on hegemonic maleness as a model, the portraiture of Lambert as more physically aggressive than she truly was can be seen as a manner in which the menace that her aggressive, violent behaviour posed to patriarchy was mitigated. Indeed, sensationalizing the coverage of the event helped to make reactions from the populace that may hold non been elicited had the event non been exaggerated in such a manner. For case, had the event been framed as her merely drawing another miss ‘s ponytail, such public indignation would non hold occurred-a adult female would hold acted sharply, disputing the binary gender system, without any ( public ) penalty. However, in an effort to guarantee that incidences of adult females moving sharply are publically chastised, the media chose to sensationalize the event by ( seemingly ) overstating Lambert ‘s actions.

The Public ‘s Response

The Elizabeth Lambert incident can so be seen as an illustration of the dual criterion still present in our society. Former manager of the U.S. Men ‘s National Team, Bruce Arena, for case, agreed that had a adult male acted in a manner similar to Lambert, the event would non hold received about every bit much imperativeness coverage or response from the populace ( Longman, 2009 ) . In add-on to the manner in which the incident was framed, it is stating to deconstruct some of the specific responses to the event as they work to do Lambert ‘s actions less endangering to male power by both sexualising and infantilizing her, every bit good as foregrounding purportedly unconditioned differences between work forces and women-common schemes used to “ re-center ” work forces ‘s place as the dominant sex ( Messner, 2002 ) .

The sexualization of Elizabeth Lambert was one type of response that followed the now ill-famed association football lucifer. As reported by Longman ( 2009a ) , Lambert received many enquiries from work forces inquiring her out on day of the months as they found her actions to be “ sexy. ” Sport sociologist Pat Griffin described these actions as efforts to “ trivialise ” adult females ‘s athleticss ( Lambert, 2009a ) . In add-on to the manner in which such sexualization devalues adult females ‘s athleticss, it besides works to keep mandatory heterosexualism. In this instance, for illustration, when such work forces proposition Lambert, her position as an jock is being overshadowed by her position as a sexual object who, purportedly, is ( of course ) attracted to work forces. Overall, work forces ‘s sexual remarks help to deviate attending off from the insurgent effects of Elizabeth ‘s actions by shifting her as non an jock, but a adult male ‘s possible sexual spouse.

In add-on to sexualization, other respondents used the maneuver of infantilization to assist work forces remain power within athletics. In a recent article about Lambert ‘s actions, every bit good as other immature adult females who had acted likewise, published in The Star ( a North Carolina Newspaper ) , the immature adult females being discussed were often referred to as “ misss, ” by managers, referees, and other persons being interviewed. Furthermore, the rubric even includes the term ( Poole, 2010 ) . Far from innocuous, use of the term misss to depict adult females or immature adult females is considered to be a manner to infantilize and disempower women-a maneuver that is permeant in the universe of athletics ( Messner, et al. , 1993 ) . In this case, particularly, the perennial use of “ miss ” to depict adult females in their 20s can be seen as a deliberate effort to decrease the menace that powerful, aggressive adult females have on work forces ‘s athleticss and patriarchate as a whole.

The 3rd subject nowadays in some of the responses to Elizabeth Lambert ‘s actions included menaces of force directed towards Lambert. In an interview with Longman ( 2009a ) , for case, Lambert noted that she received many messages that advocated for force to be enacted upon her. She mentioned that one peculiarly hideous message stated that she should be sent to prison, raped, and killed ( Lambert, 2009a ) . Such violent messages can be seen to re-stabilize work forces ‘s laterality, through hegemonic maleness, by trying to naturalise the gender double star. Indeed, by citing colza, the writer of that peculiar message is foregrounding Lambert ‘s “ feminineness ” as adult females, biologically, are more vulnerable to ravish than work forces, and more colza victims are adult females. Rape is besides normally idea of as a manner in which work forces exert power over, and control, adult females. Therefore, by adverting that Lambert should be raped, the writer can be seen as 1 ) foregrounding the fact that she is a adult female and adult females are different from work forces ; and 2 ) asseverating laterality over adult females.


As explicated by this essay, it is clear that adult females continue to be oppressed within the field of athletics, in portion, as a consequence of work forces ‘s demand to keep patriarchate. What is non every bit good established is how adult females are defying such patriarchal patterns within athletics, assisting to non merely authorise female jocks, but all adult females. While bookmans have cited incidences in which female jocks have contested the homophobia and misogynism nowadays within athletics ( Muller,2007 ; Wheatley, 1994 ) , overall, it appears as though most insurgent attempts are limited to individual-as opposed to transformative-gains ( Dworkin & A ; Messner, 2002 ) . In fact, it can be argued that female jocks are more disposed to conspire with, as opposed to dispute, patriarchal power and norms. Felshin ( 1974 ) , for illustration, described many female jocks as using “ apologetics. ” By this she meant that female jocks tried to counterbalance for their gender function corruption, and appear as more favourable, by devaluating their position as an jock and stressing their muliebrity, among other things ( Felshin, 1974 ) . Festle ( 1996 ) argues that such behaviour is still present today: She noted, for illustration, that attempts to dispute stereotypes, such as impressions that all female jocks are tribades, do non assist to progress adult females ‘s athleticss ; conversely, they end up perpetuating male power and farther repressing adult females ( Festle, 1996 ) .

Sport sociologist Michael Messner ‘s ( 2002 ) anecdote to the current patriarchal, oppressive province of American athletics is the societal justness theoretical account of athletics. He proposes that societal justness within athletics, and society as a whole, will non be achieved until hegemonic maleness, from which most of athletics is organized and construction about, is destabilized ( 2002 ) . In a patriarchal, capitalist society, nevertheless, disputing hegemonic maleness, from which so much White male power is derived, appears to be a dashing undertaking. After all, that which, and he or she who, conforms to ideals prescribed by hegemonic maleness makes money. Possibly Mohanty ‘s ( 2003 ) statement that capitalist economy is what needs to be challenged in order to make a genuinely socially merely universe is more accurate. One thing, as exemplified by the Elizabeth Lambert incident, is for certain: Something must be done as the policing and subjugation of adult females is non stoping, it is merely ( at times ) going more elusive.

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