Essay Sample on Gender, Sports and Culture

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1708 Words
Date:  2022-11-21


More often, cultural believes and practices determine sports behavior. Therefore, the study of sports from an anthropological perspective can give an insight into how culture influences it. Sports hold various meanings from one culture to another; hence, in many instances, it is the main controversy surrounding gender roles. Some people have also argued that it has slightly transformed in the recent past, thus heightening the controversies. In the contemporary world, the sport is also an institution with lots of racism where being white is regarded by many as the persons that are majorly in sports, and the minority races are seen to be integrated into white sporting culture and institutions.

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The Impact on Society

In every society, there exists dissimilarity in the roles of women and men. Consequently, every culture explains the differences and actions people need to reduce the disparity. Further, culture explains how people experiencing such discrepancies should relate to one another and the entire humanity. However, since everyone belongs to a unique culture significant difference that exists among different societies.

Anthropologists refer to gender to mean cultural connotations and collaborations, which society gives to the biological variation that exists between males and females. Therefore, an individuals' sex is determined via biological means, society constructs their gender or sexual identity culturally (Jarvie, 2012). Gender is a term people use to classify feminine or masculine socially and culturally. Consequently, the terminology is a psychological, social, and cultural construct, which various societies impose immensely on the biological dissimilarities of sex (Jarvie, 2012). Usually, every culture acknowledges the differences between females and males, though it varies in the meanings tagged on both gender, the probable origin of the disparities between both genders, the relationship existing between both genders, and other social and cultural factors. Hence, gender is a learned and constructed roles, ideas, and behaviors, which are tagged on either females or males, and sometimes mixed, from a cultural perspective (Miller, 2011)

The contemporary anthropological way of studying gender emphasizes its main relations role as a fundamental unit of society and culture. Further, it is essential to the social relations of individuals, group identities, value, meaning, power, and creation of kinship. The anthropological focus on gender's cultural construction stresses in various ways cultures distinguish, think about, and symbolize gender (Nanda & Warms, 2011). Nonetheless, it is imperative to mention in this context that issues of gender form an integral part of various socio-cultural systems like religion, politics, economy, sports, and education.

A Brief Outline and Definition of Sports

Though definitions of sport differ, people who give its definition tend to stress on it as an institutionalized competitive activity, which entails someone applying physical skills in a thorough physical activity due to personal motivation by the external and internal reward of participating in it (Coakley, 2003). Further, it is a human action that often has a loser and a winner, fun, health benefits, pleasure, fitness, and measurable achievement (Coakley, 2003). In trying to classify and define sports, several scholars begin by distinguishing them from activities like games and play. Guttman asserts that sports may be an organized or spontaneous activity (Guttman, 1978). However, he says that if participants arrange a play, it becomes a game. None the less, a game may be competitive if it becomes a contest. Finally, a contest can be physical or cognitive (Guttman, 1978). Though sports may have an intellectual and cognitive aspect, they involve physical contests. Therefore, Guttman (1978) concluded that a sport is an organized contest of a non-practical, playful character with a physical demand outweighing the cognitive aspect. Finally, regardless of the outcomes of sports definition, the anthropological aspect concentrates on the sport as a facet of culture, generated socially by the participants in a manner they do not choose. Remarkably, distinctive cultural and social studies of sport in the modern era evaluates among other things, gender, sports media, international relations, and globalization of sports.

Anthropological Importance of Culture, Sports, and Society

Sports are significant components of culture, which vary with space and time. The way people organize, define, integrate, and institutionalize sports into a socio-cultural setting differs from society to another. Therefore, it means, to comprehend sports, one has to consider sports as socio-cultural -constructs. Hence Sports and cultural anthropologists study how culture influences them since they are indispensable.

Anthropology entails the general study of man in space and time. However, cultural anthropology entails studying cultural and social life (Miller, 2011). The profession includes all social relationships and interaction aspects and the study of modern societies and their cultures. Anthropology considers discrepancies and connections across cultures and the way cultures transform with time. Hence, the study of culture and human society is referred to as cultural anthropology and involves the assessment of human behavior, meaning, and thoughts (Nanda & Warms, 2011).

Sports form an integral part of society and culture, just like art, music, and dance. Therefore, cultural anthropologists view sports in terms of their role, significance in people's lives, socio-cultural existence, and their relations to ideology and main spheres including political, economic, educational, and religious aspects of life. Research and studies in anthropology help in understanding sports as cultural and a social construct meant for specific purposes like recreation. Therefore, it is difficult to understand modern society before acknowledging the premise of sports in culture. Nonetheless, currently, sport is a universal cultural phenomenon. Hence, global leaders and politicians ought to associate with their personalities and vice versa. Interaction is important since sports contribute immensely to the economy of many nations. Further, it brings together people of different religions, political affiliations, economic status, and social status, thus acting as a cultural and social fabric.

Sports are transformative significantly plays a critical role in the growth of tourism and media. Contrary to this fact, some people relate it to social menaces like violence, crime, gender issues, health, ethnicity labor migration, social inequality, and poverty (Jarvie, 2012) Further, by analyzing the sports levels, society and culture from anthropological context, it conventionally refers to ceremonies, rituals, values, and practices of a given society. Just like the societal concept, the cultural notion is often used in the sociological, historical, and anthropological study of sports. For many years sports has stimulated students and scholars to find out the symbols, rituals, meanings, and power dealings at play in a given cultural setting.

Gender and Sports

Gender denotes a socially constructed variation between males and females. The terminology depicts the focus on the socially uneven distribution between masculinity and femininity. Anthropological sports studies give an overview of the significance of differentiating sex and gender yet the two concepts are synonymously used daily in thoughts and language. As from the 1970s, studies have shown that sports are viewed in the social context of gender, where men and boys are more actively involved in it that women and girls (Jarvie, 2012). Besides, research has proved that fewer females compared to males take part in organized sports, which are competitive. Also, the dominance of males symbolizes the preference in administering and training men in sports compared to females. Related to male imagery, sports legitimizes a natural perception that men are superior, while females are inferior. Consequently, some people have designated sports as a male preserve (Jarvie, 2012).

Social deviations depicting women's condition in society impacts the status of knowledge in the relations within and between groups of men and women in sports. From the 1970s, one result of the feminist movement is an increase in general awareness of the public about the essence of giving women and girls more opportunities in sports (Wag, 2009). Consequently, the rate at which females participates in sports has significantly gone up at the international, national, and regional active events of sports. The transformative developments have led to ongoing challenging of gender stereotyping, negotiation, and resistance of gender ideologies and people launching significant political and legal transformation about sex-based discrimination in society and sports. Thus, the novice studies on gender in sports are inevitable in sociology and anthropology.

Modern sports are global in outlook; brings together experiences shared to the international audience- through sports are not inclusive universally. Sports give a platform, where customary identities of gender are reinforced, constructed, and contested (Wag, 2009). Also, feminist researchers from cultural sociology and anthropology have availed the most unrelenting efforts that aim to understand and conceptualize gender in their sports studies within a cultural context. Hence, anthropologists assert the underrepresentation of women in sports has a protracted history associated with traditional gender relations opinions.

From the past, women have encountered informal and formal restraints to participate in some types of sports. Interpretations from the anthropological perspective on the same issue also portray gender disparity. Through social attitudes towards women and men have gradually turned into modern and less restrictive, socialization of females process endures to stress a kind of femininity, which offers slight significance to sports. Surprisingly, women continue to occupy peripheral positions in sports in almost every nation worldwide from the onset of the twenty-first century.

The Society's lack of recognition of women in sports is backed by the stereotypes within the establishment of sports. Besides, men continue to dominate the world of sports in all categories that include sports media creating stereotypes of masculine attitudes in the media. The recent sports policies that promote gender equity in sports have received resistance in different quarters and are perpetuated by stronger forces of modern sports professionalism. Sadly, the nature of sports as a social institution has advanced unique importance related to the subordinate part women play in sports. Sports enfranchise disparities between women and men as determined biologically, hence add to the creation of prejudiced gender relations. Finally, tackling gender discrimination in sports provides a premise to possibly challenge gender disparities as a whole (Wag, 2009)

Gender-Related Sport Barriers

Even though opportunities to participate in sports are enormous, the irony is, not everyone gets these opportunities. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the reason why either men or women refrain from participating in certain sports. Anthropologists have studied several barriers that deter both genders from sporting activities. The obstacles include culture, religion, and living environment for individuals. Urban or rural living, availability of public transportation, the existence of sidewalks in the neighborhood, and availability of recreational facilities are factors that can have a far-reaching impact on one's participation in sports (Miller, 2011). More often, children e...

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