I believe that there is a large difference between Men and women’s sports when it comes to homophobia and heterosexism. Men are looked at in society in such a way that they are “the bread winners” or “the protectors”. They are supposed to look and act a certain way and this image just becomes more magnified in men’s sports. Because of this pressure to conform to how society views male athletes, men are more cautious about coming out to their fellow teammates.
Female athletes are perceived in a more masculine way, causing society to associate certain terms such as “dyke”, “lesbian”, “butch”, and “masculine”. Women in society are excepted to look beautiful, skinny, tan and fit in order to fit into society and that has caused a lot of younger women to put a huge chip on their shoulders to look and act a certain way. Because of the pressures of society male and female athletes are being pressured to keep their sexual orientation quite, especially if it goes against the “social norm”.
Male athletes feel that they need to play their role in their sport. If a male plays a sport he feels as though he is supposed to be a heterosexual male, who is strong, fit and good at what he does. Also the factor of being attractive to the public eye is a huge deal. Men especially in sports such as football haven’t come out because of the fact that society see’s football players as the most masculine and heterosexual athletes, and these athletes have to fulfill that role in society. No athlete wants to be the first to come out in their sport either.
Women have come out and addressed their sexuality publicly and dealt with the media in a very tame manor. These women feel like they needed to stand up for themselves and their sports and let other people know that it is ok to express yourself and your feelings about your sexuality.
Because men have always been seen as the greater sex, they feel as if they can not come out especially in more masculine sports such as football. Men feel like the consequences of coming out publicly especially being on a professional team would put too much attention on them and some are even afraid of the backlash that they will get if they do come out. Looking at these facts I believe that male sports are definitely more homophobic then women’s sports, just because a lot more women have come out, and feel comfortable in their own skin to do so.
These women know that there will be backlash and a lot of publicity with their announcement but because of the support system that they have they aren’t afraid to come out. Whether you are a homosexual or not people need to realize that everyone is an individual and that everyone is different. Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean that they are more or less weak than they would be if they are heterosexual. And the fact that people can not accept the fact that people like other people of the same sex just boggles my mind because our society has come so far in accepting certain aspects of life and the fact that people can not accept these people for how they feel just saddens me.