In this paper, I discuss the relationship between sport, gender and sexuality, especially since the 1970s, when sport emerged as an object for social and cultural consideration. I first look at past research how theoretical perspectives have changed, and then examine how theories and research can be applied to real cases that have happened in the sporting world in the past 40 years. I emphasize the two points below, which highlight the significance of looking at sport in gender/sexuality studies:
1. Sporting culture has been emerged and developed as a highly male homosocial domain.
2. Sport is one of the most unique cultures left in postmodern society, as it uses the human body itself and makes the deference of capacities of bodies visible by displaying bodily performances.
The emergence of queer theory since the 1990s increases the importance of these significances, as theories of homosociality state that the ideal of male gender itself includes a condition of sexuality―heterosexuality. Added to that, the idea that gender is socially constructed and performatively enacted discloses the arbitrariness of the coalition between sex and gender, and undermines the connection between ideal masculinity and the male body. In conclusion, I suggest that strategies of gender/sexual liberation in sport swing between universalizing (constructivism) and minoritizing (essentialism) views as pointed out by Sedgwick in her work.
This study analyzes the proliferation in women’s competitive sports through two separate areas of change.
The first change examined concerns the number of participants in the Olympics, as well as the individual sports and events recognized as capable of being implemented at those tournaments. The second area of change regards shifts in the interpretation of gender category and the treatment of gender itself. In this study, the focus is placed on two debates as examples of investigations by the IOC into what physical gender actually consists of, and in what forms it is possible for boundaries to be established pertaining to gender. These two debates consist of discussions regarding the introduction of gender verification testing from the latter half of the 1960s, and those concerning participation by sex-reassigned athletes. The goal of the research is to illustrate that the popularization and expansion of women’s competitive sports has been mutually related to changes in the interpretation of gender category.
The expansion and popularization of women’s competitive sports in the Olympics from the latter half of 1960s to 2000s overlapped with the period that decisions were made to introduce and abolish gender verification testing and to approve participation by sex-reassigned .Those decisions have further complicated the conditions surrounding sports and “gender.” Medical testing, meanwhile, continues to steadily furnish hints with regard to the realities of where to draw the lines for secretion amounts of testosterone and other sex hormones, bone structure and several other elements that generate advantages in competitive performance and which, in actual practice, are important for persons engaging in competitive sports. In that sense, competitive sports drawing sharp distinctions between gender categories may in fact already have been relegated to the domain of little more than fiction.
This paper, positioned in a discussion of the special edition about “The Theoretical Gender Gaze and a Shaken Body,” reveals how gender studies in sport have directly claimed the term “gaze,” by surveying earlier works on sport representation in media. Critics of media and gender studies in sport have assumed the media to take a “male gaze,” and have criticized gender bias in media that emphasizes the femininity of female athletes. This “male gaze” is based on the asymmetrical connection between “a seeing man” and “a spectacular woman.” Recently however, phenomena that cannot be captured by the term “male gaze” have been spreading due to the popularization of the internet and the rise of sport marketing. If gender studies in sport continually accepts the idea of a “male gaze” without understanding the multifaceted nature of contemporary sport, it ironically clarifies that “the gaze” should stick to the very gender binary which has been criticized in gender studies.
The present world of sport is diversified, complicated, and hierarchized. The positioning of sexual minorities in sport remarkably exemplifies this. Some sexual minorities have been allowed to enter and compete in the Olympic Games under strict conditions. However, they force such athletes to change and process their material bodies, suggesting the need for special regulations for sexual minorities. In addition, there is the possibility for sexual minorities to be hierarchized by political, cultural, and economical power. The gendered theoretical “gaze” is increasing in significance and subtleness, and as such can be better used to criticize the complicated world of gender and other factors in sport.
In Iran, the so-called modernists argued that “a sound mind lives in a sound body” and led to the modernization policies including physical education for girls and other gender policies under the Pahlavi regime. Sports for women were thought to be necessary for the construction of a sound society and for the preservation of healthy families, though the notions of vulnerable bodies and the domestic character of women have still been maintained.
Islamic revival in many Muslim countries has been underway since the 1970s, and in Iran an Islamic regime was established. Islamic Revivalism reflects on the modernization policies and seeks for their own guideline of gender equality. A female politician of the Islamic Republic of Iran Faezeh Hashemi founded the “Islamic Federation of Women Sports,” and has held quadrennial Muslim Women’s Games.
While the issues mandated by Islam such as the separation of sexes and veiling were highly politicized in Iran, Islamic veiling in public came to be problematized in European countries such as France. In that circumstance the veiling issue for Muslim women athletes were brought to the surface. The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) possible compromise was to allow the players wear caps, which would show the nape of the women’s necks, but the Physical Education Association of Iran disapproved of such caps. It was highly concerned that the Iranian girls’ football team would not take part in the Youth Olympic games in 2010 August due to the lack of a “proper” uniform. The case highlights how the sociopolitical circumstances of sports organs exert influence on the condition of international game participation.
The purpose of this study is to clarify the relationship between disabled people and sports in daily life. First, we analyze the overall picture of the relationship between disabled people and sports by using the life structure analysis. Second, we acquire detailed knowledge of encounters between the disabled and sports in their local communities, utilizing the life history analysis.
Through the life structure analysis, the following points are clarified:
1）Disabled persons are positioned in hierarchically lower classes, and have lower mobility. That said, they generally tend to be “privatization/conformation” as well as able-bodied or healthy persons.
2）Disabled persons engaged in sports are positioned in a higher class or level among the disabled, and have higher mobility. In addition, they have a strong tendency to be more publically visible (“publicness”). Through the life course analysis, the following points are clarified:
1）It was confirmed that the influence of “hierarchy,” “mobility,” and “publicness” regarding the disabled persons’ sports practice can be clarified by using the life structure analysis.
2）Three distinct categories were established for considering encounters between disabled persons and sports: “Differences in individual acting power”, “Incidental events”, and “Human relations in real (nonsports) life”.
The circumstances of hierarchy and mobility in the disabled community indicate social position, and have an impact on independent acting power in the context of sports practice. Furthermore, when discussing sports, incidental events must be taken into account since independent acting power is influenced by actual real-life experience. On the other hand, it was suggested that “human relations in real (non-sports) life” could help to lay the foundation for encounters between the disabled and sports.