Sports such as body lifting, weight lifting, and MMA are typically sports that males dominate in, we don’t usually see as many women who participate in these types of sports, so the women that do participate in these sports have to constantly prove their gender. In many ways, society makes women who participate in these sports appear as heterosexual by forcing them uphold this ideal feminine image. We see this in Choi’s article, Muscles Matter, where we learn that women who do participate in bodybuilding have to maintain an image that isn’t too muscular, but that they are also still maintaining a feminine image.
In this image above, we see these women body builders dressed up as feminine as possible. They are wearing high heels, bikini swimsuits, and are posed in a feminine way with their hands on their hips while smiling. They aren’t giving off a body builder type of vibe to show off their strength and lifting ability, because that is something that would be masculine. Instead, they are dressed as if they are in a beauty pageant because society expects them to be seen as a sex symbol as well as heterosexual, and if they weren’t smiling and appeared to be more masculine then society would view them as lesbians and they wouldn’t be “normal” according to the heterosexual matrix.
Although these three sports are typically the ones with the most gender controversies, there are still other sports where gender is questioned. We see this in the Schultz article, Caster Sementa and the “Question of Too.” Caster Semenya didn’t fit into society’s gender norms because she was more muscular than the other girls and appeared to be more masculine. While competing in her running competition, we see her somehow manage to come all the way from last place to second place. Many questioned whether she was holding back and if she could’ve ran faster than she did. But because of her amazing comeback she was quickly put on the spotlight and her gender was questioned immediately.
Women are constantly questioned about their ability to perform in all sports, not just weight lifting, body lifting, and MMA. As soon as a woman performs as well as, or better than a males performance she is suddenly put in the spotlight. Society still controls women who participate in sports by forcing them to still be feminine even if they aren’t. Many times women aren’t recognized for their talent, but instead are recognized for how sexy they are. We see this all over as well as in magazine covers where women athletes aren’t in their typical sporting gear, but instead are in revealing clothes that not only sexualizes them but makes them also appear more feminine. Women athletes have to constantly battle with the heterosexual matrix and appearing normal in their gender while competing in sports.