Lauren Moss Prompt 3

In today’s society, men dominate the world of sports. Because of the heterosexual matrix, women have a hard time gaining acceptance and popularity in this world. The definition for heterosexual matrix is “public ordering of masculinity and femininity through meanings of practices and sexuality.” Many people believe telling gender is simple. If a man is masculine and a woman is feminine, they are heterosexual. No questions asked. This poses a major problem in the world of sports because good female athletes are considered to be masculine, which raises a question about all female athlete’s sexuality. According to the heterosexual matrix, society has a hard time accepting homosexuality in sports.

In older times, sports were looked at as a way to turn women into lesbians. If a woman has muscles and acts tough, she is assumed to be homosexual. Our society believes that if a woman plays a sport with masculine ideologies, she herself, must be masculine. Women have a hard time gaining popularity in the world of sports, because our society views women to be “lesser” than men or they are “too masculine” to be a woman. There is really no way for women to win in the eye’s of our cruel society. You are either too feminine or too masculine for sports.

Women have always been fighting off stereotypes that they “cannot keep up with men.” “Anything you can do, I can do better.” It is only socially acceptable to play sports that do not require major masculine traits, for feminine women. For instance, women sports that gain the most attention are volleyball, figure skating, and dance. These sports do not display major athletic skills that are required for men to play football or basketball.

Also as we discussed in class, the beach volleyball team from the Olympics goes along with the heterosexual matrix because they are looked at as being feminine because of their revealing uniforms. They are assumed to be more feminine and this is acceptable in society.It is demeaning to women that the only way to gain popularity in sport is for women to wear bikinis. On the other hand, if a woman chooses to play a sport where more skill and muscle is required, she is automatically looked at as masculine. This is looked at as negative in the world of sport because homosexuality in sports is looked at as a set back from the heterosexual matrix. It is constantly putting pressure on athletes that they need to form themselves to fit society’s ideologies in order to gain acceptance and popularity.


Kevin Brummond – Prompt 3, week 10

The sporting world has always been a place dominated by men. Today, sport are seen as a sort of “man’s world” where the most successful athletes are tied to masculinity. The heterosexual matrix is the public ordering of masculinity and femininity through the meanings and practices of sexuality. This matrix is embedded in ideology, where power relations are constantly at play with one another, but it is assumed that this matrix comes to us “naturally”. As a society, we assume that masculine men and feminine women are heterosexual. Unfortunately, we also assume that feminine men and masculine are homosexual, and society views homosexuals as “lesser” and somewhat deviant. Society partially has history to blame for this style of thinking. in the past, sports have been seen as something that turns women into men, which therefore leads to women becoming “lesbians”. Society believes that homosexual men, or “gays” do not play sports because sport is a masculine place, or so we think. 


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Due to this matrix, women have a difficult time gaining acceptance and popularity within the world of sport. If a woman is successful in their sport, they are instantly put under a microscope of curiosity. Many people wonder if a woman who dominates their sport is heterosexual, or they may even think she is a man. For example, Carmelita Jeter is an exceptional track runner. Her body is meant for power and speed. But her muscles could be considered “masculine”. Society believes that sports turn women in to men based on the heterosexual matrix. These women who are considered more masculine sometimes have to “prove” that they are feminine. Many athletes do this buy posing in suggestive photos. But this leads to the objectification of women by society. When female athletes are seen in these suggestive photos, they are not taken seriously by the public eye which does not aid in their acceptance by society.

Prompt 3 Heterosexual Matrix Jonathon H.


The heterosexual matrix is a big problem for women in the world of sport. People consider most athletes to be very masculine male or female and that leads to problems for women who want to play sports. Men who are masculine are fine because masculine men are believed to be straight, but women who are masculine are believed to be lesbians. That leads to women athletes going overboard to show everybody that they are feminine, so people will believe that they are straight.

The image above is a great example of a woman athlete trying really to conform to the heterosexual matrix. Leryn Franco is in a sport, Javelin thrower, that not many people think women actually play and can considered masculine because of this, so she decided to pose mostly naked to prove her femininity to the world. She is now presumed straight because of how attractive and how feminine she looks and is in conformity with the heterosexual matrix.




Week 10 Prompt 2: “The Stockholm Consensus”- Michelle Z.

Many athletes and non-athletes have identified themselves with a sex that does not correlate with their gender.  Sports have often made it difficult in the sports for male and female athletes who consider themselves trans.  The IOC has worked to improve these situations for transgender athletes, but the situation is still not completely ideal.  The Stockholm Consensus was a conclusion the IOC finally cam too.  This consensus recognizes transgenders but only if these athletes complete sexual reassignment surgery, be on a hormone replacement therapy program for two years, and have a legal gender change.  While this has made it easier for transgendered athletes to participate in sports, it is not completely flawless.

In class, we talked about how not all transgendered people feel the same when it comes to how they identify with their body.  Some prefer to undergo hormone therapies, some prefer to have reassignment surgeries, and some do both.  The Stockholm Consensus requires both though, which has had some controversy.  We watched a video featuring Kye Allums where he made a statement saying that he doesn’t see how someone having a penis in between their legs would affect how high they jump or how fast they run.  He thought that hormone treatment would be enough.  But even with the hormone treatment he found some issues. As I mentioned the Stockholm Consensus requires at least two years of the hormone therapy before one can participate in the sport of the new gender.  Kye said that he didn’t think they should be required to compete until their body had been fully adjusted.  One doesn’t all the sudden make a 180 adjustment, physically and mentally.

I happen to agree with Kye Allums, that a transgendered athlete should be able to get fully adjusted to their body before they switch to compete with a new gender.  They should be given a year to practice with them and get used to the sudden change.  The Stockholm consensus has proven that it has definitely benefited people who identify themselves as being trans, but it has also raised some problems as well.  Many individuals identify themselves in all sorts of different ways, and requiring them to be handled all the same way is not the best solution in my opinion.

Varner; Week 10 Prompt 2 “Problems with the Stockholm Consensus”

Understanding our own bodies is one of the most complicating tasks we may encounter throughout our life’s course. In some cases, people become familiar with their body in the very early stages of life, but in many cases this realization of who we actually are, or what our bodies are telling us, doesn’t happen until our adolescent or adult years. Sometimes our bodies tell us on the outside that we are a man or a woman, but what we really feel inside, otherwise known as gender identity, is sometimes a difficult concept to come to terms with.

A transgender individual must be a strong willed individual because of the many discriminations that come along with the status. Tamar Semerjian and Jodi Cohen’s article, “FTM Means Female to Me”: Transgender Athletes Performing Gender, puts into perspective how transgendered individuals have had to deal with becoming who they are and the struggles that they have faced along the way. The stories of the individuals in the article were touching and made the reader realize that dealing with issues such as becoming a transgender are difficult to do and one must have a strong backbone to support themselves throughout the process.

After becoming familiar with the term of transgender and how one associates with such gender, we can think about how transgender athletes are discriminated against and why. In 2004 the IOC officially recognized transgendered athletes in what was known as the Stockholm Consensus. This consensus allocates that an individual must complete sexual reassignment surgery, be on a hormone replacement therapy program for two years, and have a legal gender change for an individual to be accepted as a transgender athlete. This idea seems somewhat reasonable for the IOC to generate a rubric of requirements for these athletes, but are these athletes feelings and beliefs taken into consideration here? I don’t believe so. Some of the individuals that identify as being transgendered do not want to undergo such surgeries or take hormones to change themselves, but what the IOC is telling them is that they have to in order to participate in athletic events in their believed gender. Many individuals feel comforted with simply the fact that they have openly identified with being a transgender but have no desires to physically change their bodies. This is causing problems with these athletes being able to participate in their sporting events.

In class we have discussed that the reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies are all optional for these individuals and how we feel about this. I believe that a general consensus, not even just in our class, but the general population would agree that with these being optional for transgender individuals, they should not be required for sporting practices. This is just a general observation, and there may be many debates over this idea. Especially in the case of non-transgender athletes participating with a transgender athlete, they may have a different outlook on qualification for transgender athletes in sports. While this topic is debatable and may change in the years to come, there are always individuals that are dealing with the struggles of their participation in sport because they identify as a transgender, and we should be more aware of these situations as the arise. They will better our understanding of the affects of gender in sport and educate us on important issues that we, ourselves, may run into someday.

Prompt 2 Transgenders & The Stockholm Consensus – Kristin D.

For some athletes, being seen as a masculine female or a feminine male can cause controversy and confusion to other athletes and viewers. These athelets are usually presumed to be homosexual and also seen as lesser or deviant when compared to other athletes.The IOC has changed its policies in regards to being a transgendered athlete numerous times from the past to now. From nude examinations to chromosome swabs to gender verification, the IOC has finally came to The Stockholm Consensus which recognizes transgenders in sports if they have a complete sexual reassignment surgery, are on at least two years of hormone replacement therapy and have a legal gender change. This can be problematic to athletes who identify as a transgender in different ways.
In class we saw different interviews on the opinions of different transgendered athletes. Kye Allums made valid points when he stated that it takes a while for a transgendered athlete to be able to adjust to being the other sex and for the hormone treatment to take full affect on their bodies. With that in mind, he stated that they shouldn’t compete with their new gender until their body has been fully adjusted to the new changes the hormone treatment will do to their bodies. He also mentioned that having a penis or having breasts doesn’t affect how they would compete in a sport while on the hormone treatment.  In his opinion, having a sex reassignment surgery wouldn’t matter he says because body parts won’t have any effect in performing better in regards to sports. These specific body parts won’t help an athlete run faster, jump higher or compete better against other athletes.
In the Becoming 100% Straight article, Messner argues that this idea of heterosexuality is socially constructed and that we dont all fit into it. The Stockholm Consensus doesn’t have much leeway when it comes to transgenders. It is strict in the fact that if you do particpate in sports while being a transgende, you must complete a sex reassignment surgery, be on hormone treatment for at least two years and also have a legal gender change. Messner argues that learning your sexuality is a process, and the Stockholm Consensus doesn’t recognize this process which is problematic for transgenders because it doesn’t allow them to be able to explore their sexuality but instead limits their sexuality to what the Stockholm Consensus considers normal.

Cole Smith Week 10: Prompt 3- The Heterosexual Matrix



Female athletes have a hard time gaining access, acceptance, and popularity within sport because of the heterosexual matrix. The heterosexual matrix is the “public ordering of masculinity and femininity through meanings and practices of sexuality.” Generally, masculine men and feminine women are considered heterosexual. This assumption causes a major problem for female sports, because sport is directly tied to masculinity.

Title IX provided women with access to sports; however, access to sport for women is still not equal to sporting access for men. Access to sport is reserved for women that align with the heterosexual matrix and retain their femininity. The socially constructed binaries used to determine sex, gender, and sexuality hinder access and acceptance for women athletes, as the binaries connect feminine females with heterosexuality. According to the heterosexual matrix, if women somehow deviate from femininity, then they are assumed to be homosexual. Sports are primarily considered a male preserve, and as a result, sports are often seen as something that can turn a woman into a man. This viewpoint exists because the heterosexual matrix reserves masculine behaviors for men. If women play sport, then they are assuming the masculine qualities attached to it.

In class, we discussed how “more feminine” sports, such as beach volleyball, receive more coverage and acceptance than the women that play the same sports as men. This occurs, because beach volleyball aligns with the heterosexual matrix, as female athletes display feminine behaviors and wear feminine clothing. Women sports, such as basketball, are considered more masculine, because the game is most commonly associated with male athletes. The heterosexual matrix plays a major role in determining the acceptance and popularity of more “masculine” female sports, as masculine women are presumed to be homosexual. Acceptance and popularity is negatively impacted by this connection, as homosexuality is considered as a deviation from the heterosexual matrix.

Sport is a way in which definitions of masculinity are constructed. According to Messner’s “Becoming 100% Straight,” “heterosexuality is considered to be a rock-solid foundation of this conception of masculinity.” The heterosexual matrix puts pressure on athletes to conform to society’s beliefs about gender and sexuality. At a recent high school football game, a group of spectators made a homophobic slur that pertained to the school’s colors. According to a blog post at Women Talk Sports, being called gay is an insult in high schools and colleges. The negative connotation of homosexuality has hindered the acceptance of female athletes by the general public, because many female athletes are presumed homosexuals. In addition, the most popular and accepted female sports are those that align with the heterosexual matrix and display femininity. Until the binary beliefs about gender, sex, and sexuality are altered, the heterosexual matrix will continue to create problems for women looking to gain access, acceptance, and popularity within sport.


Note: Photograph and further information about homophobic incident were found at

Please choose from one of the prompts below. If you’d like to blog about something not covered in the prompts, let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: We’ve been discussing the policies regarding sex/gender that the IOC has instituted both in the past and today. Thinking about what we’ve learned (and what you’ve read) about the characteristics that make up “sex,” why has the IOC had such a hard time coming to a conclusion about what “sex” is and how to test for it.

Prompt 2: We’ve been discussing the policies regarding gender that the IOC has instituted both in the past and today. Thinking about how many different ways people may identify and understand their bodies/gender as “trans,” what is problematic about the Stockholm Consensus?

Prompt 3: We’ve been thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality all semester. This week, we’ve finally talked about the idea of a “heterosexual matrix.” Using this framework, give an analysis as to why female athletes have such a hard time gaining access, acceptance, and popularity within sport.

Prompt 4: Several weeks ago, we discussed media images of female athletes. That week, we discussed the images in terms of “second wave vs. third wave feminism.” This week, we discussed the “heterosexual matrix.” Examine a media image in terms of this matrix, discussing how gender and sexuality are tied together, and then discuss the role of sport in this process.

J. Gonzalez Week 8: Prompt 1

Although I feel that a liberal feminist strategy is positive and has set the tone for Title IX enactment, I think that it has done an inadequate job in fulfilling its full on purpose. Overtime it has proved that it has made an impactful change to women’s rights. It has definitely given women equal opportunities in education and sports but it can do a better job in making sure that women receive 100% equality. I believe the best strategy to increase more opportunities for girls and women in sport in the US is through a materialist feminist strategy.

In class we discussed that although women have been given equal opportunity as men, there is still a lack of profit that goes towards women’s athletics. For instance, in the case of collegiate scholarships offered to women. By using a materialist feminist strategy, the focus would be on redistributing wealth among the men’s and women’s programs and highlighting the ways in which women are still being outcasted by being the “minority programs” in collegiate athletics. Scholarship money in particular has played an important role in this and an example of the ways that females don’t have full rights just as men do.

To conclude, I feel that a liberal strategy has been successful but more action has to be taken and a new direction needs to be enforced in order to make sure women do see the same rights. Although this law is a government enacted law, I believe that the real issue, in the case of collegiate athletics, stems from the institutional level that is the NCAA. I believe that the NCAA is not doing all that it can to ensure collegiate women athletes aren’t treated equally when it comes to distributing wealth. Title IX hasn’t been perfect but it has served its purpose well to a certain extent yet there still needs a lot more work to be done.

further reading:

Week 8 Prompt 1: M. Moreno – Title IX and the WSF

During the sixties and seventies, there were several political and social movements going on around the time that Title IX was passed into law. Martin Luther King, Junior was fighting for African-Americans and their civil rights while other movements raged on concurrently.  The Anti-war movement was in favor of ending the war in Vietnam and bringing the troops home while the gay liberation movement rallied behind those involved in the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots and helped to bring their issue to national headline. Title IX, passed in 1972, can be considered part of several movements that were a major part of American culture during that time, the main one being the feminist movement.

The feminist movement was in full swing by the time Title IX was passed. In 1973, Billie Jean King helped propel the movement forward by beating Bobby Riggs in a tennis match advertised as the “Battle of the Sexes”, helping to prove that women can keep up with men both on and off the court. In 1974, King founded the Women’s Sports Foundation to help further women and girls in the world of sports by educating the public, conducting research and even helping to provide grants and financial aid. The Women’s Sports Foundation has come a long way since the beginning of Title IX and shows the progress of the feminist movement.

I believe Title IX is a bigger part of larger movements such as the feminist movement for a few reasons. While Title IX does not only apply to sport and did not originally apply to sport, it has come to mainly be known for its feminist aspects, such as advocating for women and girls’ equal rights in education and especially in athletics. While many still believe that Title IX has done a lot for women and their ability to participate and have the opportunities to play in sports, I believe there is still a ways to go. There are still issues with the law, schools that are not in compliance with it, and programs that are being lost or cut because of compliance issues. There are still kinks to be worked out within Title IX, but without it, coming this far might’ve been impossible for women.

For more information on the WSF and Title IX, go to: