Inequity in physical activities and sports continue to be experienced in the society because of notions and mental dispositions that the people have. Despite the fact that inequity in sports and physical activities negatively affects the economic, social, and health factors, there are stereotypical values that people still hold. Unless a platform is created to understand the issues involved in this kind of inequity, the human race will still face challenges. This essay raises concern of inequity in physical activities and sports by analyzing two pictures; a males’ hockey team carrying trophy and a female dancer in a bid to create awareness and do away with the socio-economic, health, and gender challenges in the society.
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(INSET YOUR TWO PICTURES HERE)
In the first picture, there is a female dancer who represents the female gender in this discussion. The second picture is a team of male hockey players carrying a trophy. In the first picture, the single female dancer is a representation of stereotypical perception that associates females with dance. It shows the association of the female gender with low economic status as dance is considered as a low income generating activity. In the entertainment industry female are mainly used in secular music videos with clothes that expose their body parts in order to attract audience. This is based on the perception that ‘sex sells’ and as such, music producers work to meet this demand.
The second picture represents the ideal that success in sports is associated with male athletes. The males have dominated their women counterparts in most sporting disciplines. As such, the picture associates male gender with success at the expense of females. When the two pictures are compared, one sees that females prefer the less lucrative sport or physical activity (dance) to males’ lucrative sport of hockey. In addition, the hockey team picture holds a trophy, which signifies that male are associated with success.
In addition, gender stereotypes in sports and physical activities are a subdivision between masculinity and femininity. The picture of the female dancer is represented by socially-constructed relationships that men have power and women have less power. This can be shown by the body physiques of the male team and the female dancer. Females have weaker positions in all spheres of life while men enjoy lead roles in various sporting and physical activities. Men’s main reason to engage in sports is to excel; therefore, they engage themselves in more and more competitive sports and physical activities. In contrast females take part in sports and other physical activities to keep fit, improve their physique, keep weight under control, and for health reasons. The sexual distinction created by male and female in sports leads to the different manner in which the two groups practice sports.
There are gender-differentiated sports practices that can be observed from the two pictures above. This argument is based on the kind of sports and physical activities that the sexes get involved in. The sporting fraternity has tried to level the playing field for both male and female athletes by providing two categories of sports for either gender. However, females have a special preference to sports and activities that put emphasis on physical expression; for instance, gymnastics, ice skating or dance. On the other hand, male prefer sporting activities that require combative expressions like rugby, soccer, and hockey that require big grounds to play or participate. In exceptional cases, females who try to break the barrier are socially confronted and are considered ‘tomboys’. The only way they can take part in the games is without causing uproar is by parading in opening and closing ceremonies. The society (both men and women) decide which sporting and other physical activities are feminine and which ones are not.
Negative Consequences of Inequity in Sports and Physical Activities
Inequity in sports and physical activities encourage dominance of the minority groups by the majority group. It is difficult for a poor athlete to make it in sports as they have no access to modern training facilities. On the other hand, the rich can promote and develop their talents because they have access to the facilities. As a result, the rich will continue to dominate the poor until such time when there will be equal chances.
Secondly, when sports become a preserve of the few elite groups, a huge percentage of people would resort to other income generating activities other than sports. Lack of adequate physical activities and sports causes health problems, which are a precondition for lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and cancer to some extent. Health problems cause economic lose as the federal government and statutory budgets must reserve adequate finances to manage lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases take the biggest proportion of the budgetary allocations on health.
Inequity in sports and physical activities should be eliminated in the society because it is an impediment to development of the society. Female are the most alienated gender in this regard. By engaging is sports the society is able to address its health concerns and as a result cut on budget allocation dedicated to treatment and management of lifestyle diseases. In addition, creating a level playing field for all people in the society enhances well-being and mental stability. Women should be encouraged to take part in sports since it boots their reproductive health as female sportspersons exhibit less risky sexual behaviors. Female athletes also tend to have fewer children and this is a relief to the government as it lower dependency ratio.
The benefits of equal opportunities in sports in the society cannot be underscored. There is need of encouraging participation in physical activities and sports by setting up more sports facilities to cater for the needs of the less privileged people in the society. By encouraging participation, more talents will come up and improve the standards of athletes at local, regional, and international levels. State administrators like governors and mayors should set up social facilities in their localities to promote sports and physical activities.
The other way of curbing inequity in sports and physical activities is through sensitization initiatives through media and other social platforms. The essence of writing this essay is one such initiative that can help create awareness. This article is meant to portray gender based inequity in a unique and different perspective to appeal to the general public. Sensitization means should be varied and target grassroots level. Reaching the households and making them understand how the inequity in the sporting activities affect the society will have sustainable impact in solving the issue. The mainstream print, visual, audio media remain the short term avenue for creating awareness.
The pictures showing gendered inequity in the physical activities and sports are a true reflection of how the society perceives issues that affects it. This inequity affects the normal lives of the people in myriad ways; socially, economically, and health wise. Most significantly, the issues cause misconceptions and gender stereotypes that limit the ability of the female gender. These perceptions have to be changed in order to pull the society together and focus on other development agendas. In this regard, the people should come up with adequate responses mechanisms that should target short term and long term goals to commensurate the achievements that have been already made.
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