Changing the Game

Sport and a cultural shift away from homohysteria

Authored by: Rachael Bullingham , Rory Magrath , Eric Anderson

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415522533
eBook ISBN: 9780203121375
Adobe ISBN: 9781136326967


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Since the foundation of organised sport in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century within the Western world, sport has traditionally served as a masculine preserve through the regulation of gendered behaviours. It has maintained the purpose of turning young boys towards a hegemonic perspective of male heterosexuality; one distanced from femininity and homosexuality. The construction of a dominating form of heterosexual masculinity was accomplished through multiple mechanisms, including socialising boys into the physical violence, sexism and homophobia indicative of organised, competitive sport (Anderson, 2009). Adams et al. (2010) add that to construct an esteemed and ‘acceptable’ masculine identity, it is not just necessary to display one’s heterosexuality, but also to ‘police’ the gendered behaviours of one’s peers. Policing is conducted through specific discourses used to question men’s heteromasculinity. Epithets such as ‘fags’, ‘sissies’, and ‘poofs’ are often used to emasculate and feminise those who do not comply with supposed traditional hetero-masculine norms.

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