Femininity/Masculinity and Physical Activity Masculinity Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:

It causes females to compromise their health by taking up very restrictive diets to be model thin (which could lead to other psychological health issues, such as anorexia or bulimia). Being overweight (which in many cases is one of the only measures applied to determine healthiness) is thought by many women to be a case of "eating too much food and/or not doing enough exercise" (p. 711).

Males face similar problems to females, but in a different way. If a man is not active and physically fit, he is not "healthy." While he does not have to have the restrictive diet of a female, he is still judged on his moral character by his level of health. Non-conforming signals that he is lazy and does not care about himself as much as someone who does conform. Being healthy is part of a conforming male's identity because it is synonymous with physical activity (which we have seen before through sport and physical education is a defining characteristic of masculinity).

Bodies and Identities

Throughout most of the previous topics, Physical Education, Sport, and Health, the body has remained a central issue or theme. It is through the body that activity is done and health is displayed. It is with the body that masculinity and femininity are displayed for the most part. Looking the part, acting the part, and doing the part are all components of being "masculine" or being "feminine" and are all done with the body. This is mostly because of the association between being biologically male (or female), of the male (or female) gender, and being masculine (or feminine). Therefore, one's body has ramifications for one's identity, masculinity, or femininity.

How a person looks is often an important part of who that person thinks he/she is. The visual (the body) has become symbolic of identity, and how we look signals a lot about us, such as our socioeconomic status or our group affiliations (Frost, 2003). For example, for males, looking "cool" (wearing certain types of clothes, keeping the hair a certain way) helps to define and identify their masculinity (such as keeping a "bad boy" image or helping them to "score"). Not looking a certain way puts one in an excluded category; it creates detrimental social isolation and alienation.

Males are expected to look masculine; that is, he is supposed to be sporty (i.e., have an athletic body) and cool (e.g., wear "in" clothes), and if they do not, their "power, control and sexual desirability" (p. 63) are compromised. Further, the most desirable male is black or white (which has become associated with masculinity). If one is, for example, Korean, he is seen as weak, lacking muscle, and, therefore, feminine. In this way, even ethnicity (or handicap) can be used as non-conformity to hegemonic masculinity and identify a person as non-masculine. In as similar fashion, females who do not look like thin, (middle class) white girls, according to Frost, are not exuding the traits of femininity. Much of one's identity is bound up in the body, such much so that non-conforming could lead to serious issues, from poor health to identity crises to even suicide.


Society has its prescripts about what it means to masculine and feminine, and the two seems to be (but do not have to be) binary opposites. While society's views are changing (especially with respect to what femininity is), there are still views that say there is a "right" way to be feminine or masculine. These notions are not seen to be on a continuum, and those who do fall closer to the middle of that continuum are caused problems by the hegemonic masculinity/femininity beliefs. While there are ways, e.g., for a female to negotiate herself as feminine while doing something masculine (like sports), there are nonetheless problems that arise from not conforming (including the need for negotiation itself). These problems arise almost everywhere, from bodies and images, to scholastic and physical performance, to health, and will continue to arise while society readjusts its views, expectations, and dialogues.

Works Cited

Adams, N., Schmitke, a., & Franklin, a. (2005). Tomboys, dykes, and girly girls: Interrogating the subjectivities of adolecent female athletes. Women's Studies Quarterly, 33(1&2), 19-35.

Azzarito, L. & Solmon, M. (2008). An investigation of students' embodied discourses in physical education: A gender project. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 28, 173-191.

Frost, L. (2003). Doing bodies differently? Gender, youth, appearance and damage. Journal of Youth Studies, 6(1), 53-70.

Gard, M. (2008). When a boy's gotta dance: New masculinities, old pleasures. Sport, Education and Society, 13(2), 181-193.

Jackson, C. (2006). 'Wild' girls? An exploration of 'ladette' cultures in secondary schools. Gender and Education, 18(4), 339-360.

Schacht, S. (1996). Misogyny on and off the "pitch": The gendered world of male rugby players. Gender and Society, 10(5), 550-565.

Wright, J., O'Flynn, G., & Macdonald, D. (2006). Being fit and looking healthy: Young women's and men's…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Femininity Masculinity And Physical Activity Masculinity " (2011, May 03) Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/femininity-masculinity-and-physical-activity-14298

"Femininity Masculinity And Physical Activity Masculinity " 03 May 2011. Web.29 November. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/femininity-masculinity-and-physical-activity-14298>

"Femininity Masculinity And Physical Activity Masculinity ", 03 May 2011, Accessed.29 November. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/femininity-masculinity-and-physical-activity-14298

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Masculinity Gender and Symbolism in

    Austere diets are also common, and after winning his final title and announcing his retirement from bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger celebrates with a meal of 'real food' for the first time in many months. The ascetic as well as aesthetic nature of the sport is also underlined in the way that Butler's subjects, Schwarzenegger in particular, also embody femininity, however unconsciously in their physical obsessions and movements. Schwarzenegger even takes ballet

  • Masculinity He Sulked in the Department Store

    Masculinity He sulked in the department store courtesy chair, two shopping bags in his keep. Other men walking by glanced at Adam with admiration, respect, and a hint of envy. "He got the chair," they thought. "That's the man's chair, the chair that we sit in while our wives and girlfriends and daughters do the shopping. I wish I was sitting in that chair right now." Similarly entrusted with shopping bags,

  • Exclusion of Femininity in Victorian Adventure Novels

    Females in Victorian Adventure Literature This paper analyzes the tendency among Victorian adventure novel authors to exclude women by exploring three novels: H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, and John Buchanan's Greenmantle. Through close readings of the texts and comparisons to the authors' other works, as well as a survey of the secondary literature, it becomes clear that, while Victorian adventure authors did create

  • Soldierly Perception of Masculinity in Imperial Germany 1880 1914

    Soldierly Perception of Masculinity in Imperial Germany 1880-1914 According to the researchers, from last two centuries shifts have been experienced in Germany's war system. New forms of masculinity arose in 1945, when Germany was totally surrendered and so did the regime of Nazi's. The regime of Nazi's was a heroic one and after World War II new forms of masculinity arose in Germans. War system is a vital determiner of masculinity;

  • Italian Feminism and Masculinity

    Italy is a cultural hub of gender identity where issues of feminism and masculinism have been deeply entrenched for many years. For centuries Italy has been considered a more masculine country, though the majority of work documented related to masculinism actually is sparse. Issues of feminism and masculinity has surfaced in the workplace, where naturally access to issues such as equal employment and technology have surfaced. Gender inequality issues in

  • Messerschmidt That the Prisons in

    More recently, Miedzian (1991) has studied peer pressure, the socialization process, and military impact that has resulted in violence becoming standard behavior in males, and Thompson (1991) has demonstrated that violent acts are more often performed by males with greater masculine gender orientations. Another slant on this topic was placed by West and Zimmerman (1987) in "Doing Gender," that looked at gender not in terms of a set of traits

  • Gender Discrimination in Sports

    proxyserver.pk/Browse.php?u=kLff2qPdyOxOtvb9YJgKSuxxnfUcHvoa6%2Fy%2FUkaN3xIsEDuqjlc%3D&b= This video released by IBN Live reveals the gender discrimination suffered by an Indian Athlete, named Santhi Soundarajan, who lost her silver medal in the female 800m race of Asian games in Doha because of her failure in a gender test. The host of the show very calmly ridiculed the athlete and bluntly joked about athlete's gender by laughing and saying that may be the management and staff members

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved