Throughout history, male and female athletes have been portrayed differently in the sports world, and other forms of media. Women in particular have made great strides in gaining equal representation as athletes in the media. However gender roles in our society regarding sports have also changed in our society. Many physically demanding and aggressive sports have started to see women participate in them. In addition, masculinity in sports has changed due to the actions of many male athletes. Former and current professional athletes have started to associate themselves with other media outlets such as fashion, and the popular T.V. show Dancing With The Stars. Our society has viewed masculinity as displaying characteristics such as "violence and aggression, emotional restraint, toughness, risk-taking, physical strength, courage, power and dominance" (Soulliere). However, in 2011, some athletes view masculinity a little differently now. In sports, you are hearing more stories of people crying, sitting out of games due to injury and not being as aggressive as they athletes used to be. All of this suggests that the definition of what being masculine means is different today and is all shown throughout the sports world. The changes in gender roles and masculinity have shown how women have started to change the definition of a female athlete, and how men have started to become more accepting of showing emotions while playing sports.
Our group consists of Brandon Starr and Michael Mansour. Both of us are avid sports fans, and are interested in how sports affect our culture, and everyday lives. We decided to break our project into two different parts consisting of the change of gender roles in female sports, and the masculinity of male sports. The reasoning for splitting the topic into these two parts is so that both of us can cover both male and female athletes in sports. It also helped to be able to relate the change in gender roles within sports, with how masculinity is viewed by athletes.