Prompts for Week 14: Homophobia & Heterosexism

Please choose one of the following prompts. If you’d like to write on another topic, let me know and we can chat about it.

Prompt 1: We talked briefly about the link between homophobia and bullying. Please read this Fat Body Politics Blog and discuss how calling a female athlete a “dyke” works with regard to power, the heterosexual matrix, and ideology.

Prompt 2: Beginning next spring there will be a new, yet un-named women’s professional soccer league. Since the announcement many stakeholders and scholars have been debating how to properly market the league. Given our discussions this semester, what strategies would you promote? Which would you critique? And are there any other strategies which the league might consider?

Prompt 3: There seems to be a common assumption that men’s sport is more homophobic than women’s sport. In the past several weeks we have worked our way through “attractiveness,” muscles, femininity, race, and sex/gender/sexuality. We’ve seen how sports have change their rules and policies to be more “feminine” and how female athletes are expected to look and act in certain ways. Is men’s sport “more homophobic,” or does the homophobia/heterosexism just look different?

Prompt 4: We had a very good discussion about the ways we might combat homophobia and heterosexism in women’s sport. How might we actually put these things into practice?


Prompts, Week 13: Muscles, Atrractiveness, Heterosexuality

Please choose one of the following prompts. If you’d like to write about something else, let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: Muscles seem to be a necessary part of sport in our culture. Yet, female athletes who have “big” muscles are often maligned in the media. Do a bit of research and find an athlete who found herself in the midst of controversy about her muscles. Provide a brief overview and analyze the comments surrounding the controversy using the heterosexual matrix.

Prompt 2: We’ve talked all semester about “attractiveness” and the idea that “sex sells.” Given the common assumption that women who are attractive and pretty will make more money in sports, generate 3 questions/arguments that expose “attractive” and “pretty” as mythical ideals.

Prompt 3: Why are sports such as bodybuilding, weightlifting, and MMA the center of many “gender controversies”? Are these sports the only sporting spaces where women’s gender/sexuality is questioned?

Prompt 4: Thinness  is the standard for feminine beauty in our culture. How does this affect the ways in which female athletes are expected to look? How does this affect their athletic performances? And how might it affect the way they experience their own bodies?


Prompts for Week 11: “Heterosexy” and Racialized Gender

Please choose of the following prompts. If you’d like to write about something different, please let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: We’ve been talking about the heterosexual matrix for several weeks now. Please read the following story about Fairhaven’s Field Hockey team, and analyze it in terms of the heterosexual matrix.

Prompt 2: During and after the Olympics, Lolo Jones garnered much more media attention than those who placed higher than her. Some of her competitors criticized her for this, and a media firestorm ensued. Analyze how a) the heterosexual matrix and b) racial ideology shape this debate.

Prompt 3: One of the readings for this week claimed that “hair still matters.” Additionally, we talked about Gabby Douglas’ gold medal winning performance and subsequent critique of her hair. Why does hair still matter, and what does it have to do with sport?

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.

Prompts for Week 6: History

Please respond to one of the following prompts. If you’d like to write about something not covered in these prompts, just let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: One of our readings earlier this semester (Adams’ Artistic Impressions) discussed how ice skating changed over time from a manly sport to a feminine sport. We’ve spent the last several weeks talking about the 1800s and early 1900s. Are there any sports that have undergone a similar change in gendered expectations from the 1800s to today?

Prompt 2: This week we discussed changing notions of gender and sexuality. In the late 1800s sport became an activity which medical experts feared might turn a woman into a man (gender inversion). As hetero- and homo- sexuality emerged as social categories concerning gendered sexual activity, the fears shifted toward sport and lesbian-ness. How did these shifting notions of gender and sexuality effect female atheltes in the 1920s and 1930s?

Prompt 3: We’ve been talking generally about “women” in sport and how shifts in gender and sexuality have affected them in the late 1800s and early 1900s. However, there are many different types of women who were effected by these shifts differently. Discuss how race and social class interacted with gender at this time to create different expectations for different women.

Week 4: Media Matters Prompt

Please choose one of the following prompts. If you have an idea that falls outside these prompts, let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: This week, we discussed media representations of women in sporting contexts. We read the article “Ideological control of women” by Birrell & Theberge. They outline 6 ways (modes of control) that women’s bodies and identities are controlled, trivialized, and marginalized in sport media. The article is almost 20 years old now, do you think these modes of control are still relevant? Have new modes of control emerged?

Prompt 2: Female athletes posing for magazines like playboy, maxim, and gear is a hot topic in feminist sport studies. We watched the film “Playing Unfair” and discussed the divisions between second and third wave feminists in class. Choose an athlete or a particular image and discuss how both a second and a third wave feminist would analyze her/it. Then, provide your own commentary about the athlete/image.

Week 3: Theory & Method; Feminism

Please choose one of the following prompts. If you have an idea for a post that does not fit into these categories, let me know and we can work it out.

Prompt 1: This week, we talked about various feminist perspectives. While generally, feminists agree that gender inequality is a problem, they often disagree on how we should solve this problem. Women’s MMA is growing in popularity, yet lacks funding and stuctural support. So far, athletes and organizers have been experimenting with different formats as they continue to attempt to best promote and cover women’s events. Using at least 2 feminist perspectives, describe the problems facing female MMA fighters and possible solutions.

Prompt 2: In Artistic Impressions, Adams argues that the meanings and expectations of gender have changed over time. She argues that today ice skating is considered feminine, and thus men who participate are considered effeminate and are suspected of being gay. Finally, she argues that we should include effeminacy as a form of masculinity. In the run-up to the last Winter Olympics, the media played up the rivalry between Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir. How is gender constructed in this rivalry and what would Adams say about these two athletes and the state of ice skating?

Prompts for Week 2: Sex, gender, sexuality

Pick one of the two prompts below to respond to. If you have an idea for a post that falls outside of these prompts, let me know and we can discuss it.

Prompt 1: Our topic for this week was “sex, gender, and sexuality.” A major theme running throughout the readings was “social construction.” In fact, Judith Lorber tells us that “we do gender everyday.” Pick a particular sport and discuss how gender is “done” within that sport. Be specific with regards to what we’ve learned about social constructions.

Prompt 2: Laurel Richardson argues that our very language is littered with gendered assumptions. Pick one of her propositions and explore how it applies to or is manifested in sport and sporting language.