Historically, sports have been used to emphasize masculinity in both men and boys and emphasize values that portray men as dominant over women. Moreover, sports have been used to demonstrate how femininity is subordinate to masculinity. Even men who participate in games perceived to be a female domain are subordinated by other men since they are seen as women. Competitive sports that underscore power, size and strength are used to reaffirm the masculinity and provide young men with peer recognition and status. They, therefore, become accepted by their peers while those who lack the will to participate in the games are stigmatized. For the men who take part in games perceived to be a female domain, they face the problem of their sexuality being questioned. This does not go well with these men and motivates them to reaffirm their sexuality while others seek administrative positions. These perceptions are actually confirmed by a research on cheerleaders from Ohio Public University. Respondents confirmed that males who take part in cheerleading are perceived to be homosexuals. To avoid this stigma, some cheerleaders avoid cheering publicly.
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To minimize the stigma associated with participating in sports perceived to be feminine, the males have devised strategies, some of which include invoking history to emphasize that the games were initially a male domain even before females ventured into them. There is a perception that women were introduced in the cheerleading to help men maintain their masculinity and superior role. They achieve this objective by appearing submissive to men. Another strategy of fighting the stigma is by projecting a very tough masculinity stature to emphasize their physical ability and prowess. Men in cheerleading teams use their female counterparts as sexual objects to underline their masculinity. The female cheerleaders are aware of the stereotypes directed at male cheerleaders and help to project a very masculine image of them. The women perpetuate the notion of men’s masculinity by describing them favorably as ‘perverted’ and ‘brotherly’. Men in cheerleading teams create and maintain sexualized relationships with their female counterparts. These relationships provide men with an explanation for joining the cheerleading teams. They claim that their purpose for being in those teams is to engage in the relationships.
With regard to the reading, I perceive the claim that sports in the past was perceived to be a masculine domain where male dominance over women was emphasized to be true. Moreover, this claim is actually evident in many sports where majority of participants are male. The society we live in has been patriarch from the past and little has been done to change this situation. For this reason, duties and roles played by men and women have been defined by the society and have been strictly observed. Any deviation from the expectations of the society has been met with a lot of scorn and resistance from different members of the society. Sports are no different and have been characterized by stereotypes and expectations. Despite the many efforts being made to defend men in cheerleading teams from sexual misconceptions, the results may not be forthcoming in the near future. This is due to the slow transition of the society into accepting that sports should be enjoyed by all genders without discrimination and stereotypes.
Using women as objects of sex to reinforce men’s masculinity might solve one problem, but might create another. The relationship between male and female cheerleaders emphasizes male dominance, which enhance male chauvinism, a vice that the world is struggling to eliminate. The effort being made by men in the cheerleading teams to emphasize that their participation in cheerleading is due to relationships with their women counterparts is a diversion that may not be effective. The aim of this claim is to make their participation acceptable by those who question their sexual orientation. However, they tend forget is that the perception people have about their participation in cheerleading is rooted in the culture and beliefs that have been formed over a long time. As such, their emphasis on the reasons for their participation may have little effect on changing this perception that is based on a complex and solid base of cultural beliefs.
People are very diverse in taste and preferences as well as in their character traits. Therefore, they cannot have the same attraction to sports. Those who do not participate in sports take part in other activities and should be respected despite their inactive role in sports. Although they may not be popular among their peers, they may have very great contribution to other sectors in the society.
The problem of stigmatization and misconception cannot be solved using pretence being advanced by the cheerleaders. They are creating a false reason for men’s participation in cheerleading, trying to justify their participation. Men participate in cheerleading sports because they have a passion for the sport. The most effective way of dealing with the problem is to sensitize the world about men participating in sports perceived to be a female domain. Rigorous campaigns should be made to try and change people’s perception and encourage them to accept indiscriminate participation in sports by all genders. One of the effects of stigmatization is that men in cheerleading sports fail to actualize their potential. Some take part in the training, but shun away from the actual cheerleading because they fear ridicule and scorn if they appear publicly to cheer. Consequently, this limits the freedom of participation, which denies them a chance to achieve satisfaction.
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