Hegemonic Masculinity In Sports

2348 Words 10 Pages
The October 30, 1944 cover of TIME magazine depicts a photograph of a stern faced man against a background that includes a closed fist punching an image of Emperor Hirohito of Japan; the caption reads “I Shall Return.” The man is General Douglas MacArthur, who embodies the pure, rugged masculinity that America holds in such high esteem. He’s often quoted for saying, “Only those Americans who are willing to die for their country are fit to live.” The United States has elevated that value of sacrifice into the American mythos. That this has happened is no coincidence as the United States is a culture with a strong element of hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity, a concept created by sociologist Raewyn Connell, is a strain of masculinity …show more content…
Yet there is much scholarly debate as to whether sport today continues to uphold the values of hegemonic masculinity or actually contributes to breaking down the hegemonic aspects of masculinity. Juxtaposing the media portrayals of Nolan Ryan and Russell Westbrook, as well as examining the views of a men’s college soccer team in the Northeast, provides strong evidence that hegemonic masculinity, although it has aspects that maintain a significant presence in society, is being challenged by other more inclusive forms of masculinity, particularly in terms of views on homosexuality. This reduction in the prevalence of hegemonic masculinity is good for all of us—it leads to a more open and happy …show more content…
Namely, Westbrook flouts the traditional fashion roles expected of men in society. Whereas Nolan Ryan was celebrated by as a “tidy, unflashy, dresser” (Fimrite 1975 as cited in Trujillo 1991 p. 301), Westbrook now receives praise for his “conscious thumbing of the nose at the masculine status quo” (Morris 2014)—a sign that the homophobia that marked Ryan’s moment is fading. This is an indication of favorable change towards inclusive masculinity congruous with the work of Adams (2011) in his article “Josh Wears Pink Cleats”: Inclusive Masculinity on the Soccer Field. Adams (2011) studied a men’s collegiate soccer team and “found no intellectualization or overt performances of homophobia during [his] time observing, socializing with, and interviewing” (p. 584) the team. Similar to what can be seen with Westbrook, Adams (2011) found “a subversion of the rigid boundaries of gendered assessment that exists among male teamsport athletes today” (p. 588) among players on the soccer team he visited. This openness among athletes to express a more colorful side is a welcome change from the hegemonic masculinity that marked Ryan’s time. The pink cleats soccer players wear and Westbrook’s unique clothing are both physical representations of the change to a more inclusive masculinity. They are concrete evidence that the media now positively portrays certain

Related Documents