Assignment: Psychological Effects of Women in Sports Essay

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Assignment: Psychological Effects of Women in Sports Essay

Assignment: Psychological Effects of Women in Sports Essay


Participation in sports had for a long period of time been associated with the male gender. According to the history regarding the participation of women in sports, the acceptance of women was faced with numerous challenges as they were considered too weak to withstand the physical and competitive demands of the games. However, the situation has changed in the recent past and women has begun to participate in sports such as football, which was a preserve of the male gender. Even then, sports is still influenced by patriarchy particularly in the developing world. As a result, the sheer participation in these games subjects women to immense psychological effect (Kim, Kayoung and Sagas 125). These effects become even more dominant when the sport in question is supposedly male dominated as women have to work twice as hard to break certain ceilings. In the present paper, an examination of the pressure associated with playing male dominated games such as football by women will be explored.

In sport participation, gender stereotype has dominated since the inception of the same and critics argue that it is a societal function. Explanation has been offered for the existence of this phenomenon in sports by linking it to masculinity. Indeed, participation in sports has been considered as a masculine activity with initial literature arguing that taking part in competitive sports violated the customary sex roles (Gentile et al. 99). The argument was buttressed in the notion of corporeal physiological differences

Assignment Psychological Effects of Women in Sports Essay

Assignment Psychological Effects of Women in Sports Essay

between men and women since the former are well-built whereas the latter are thin and in skirts. The above stereotypes influence the decision whether one participates in a game or otherwise. Indeed, the stereotypes help categorize the sports into gender appropriate and gender inappropriate groups, pushing female athletes into making a difficult decision. In addition, a decision to participate in a sport is influenced by its characteristics and the acceptability of the same for the female gender by the society. Thus, women who participate in male dominate sports have a conflicting role as the society anticipates feminine behaviors from them.

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Women participation in male-dominated sports also finds support from the theories of planned behavior and reasoned action by Fishbein and Ajzen respectively. According to these theories, an individual’s decision to participate in a sport is affected by behavioral attitudes as well as the pressure to align with normative beliefs and social norms (Plaza et al. 205). In specific terms, the normative beliefs of a person and their elucidations on social norms are founded on insights on whether they have support from significant others including family, husband or society in undertaking the sport. In fact, peer influence is important when peers offer comparisons for purposes of assessing one’s personal competence.

Moreover, women sportspeople who participate in male dominated sports have to depend on the assessment of their peers to have a better self-esteem. When their peers regard them as performing well, they internalize this positively, which increases their self-esteem levels. Indeed, peer pressure has been shown to correlate with the feelings of global self-esteem for women participating in a male-dominated sports. Further, peer attitudes also influence societal gender stereotypes and women athletes run the risk of being considered as masculine by their peers (Gentile et al. 102). In addition, girls participating in male dominated sports may have to content with societal disapproval. As a consequence, empirical studies have shown that this may affect their intrinsic motivation.

Further examination of the issue reveals that women who participate in such sports have to battle with fear of negative evaluation. As noted before, a notion existed to the effect that participating in male-dominated sports by women may occasion gender role conflicts. Thus, those who fear negative evaluations from their peers may be affected in terms of performance and endurance. Additionally, these women have to grapple with social physique anxiety. The above kind of pressure emanates from media representations of these women since their images of modern athletes are biased towards feminine grace and beauty (Plaza et al. 210). Thus, peer pick on this and then apply it to the valuation of the physiques of these women participating in sports such as soccer. By doing so, the women have to constantly worry whether the evaluation will be positive or negative, which end up impacting their performances.

Also, women participating in male dominated sports have to constantly compete against the patriarchal barriers placed by the society. Given that these are male-dominated sports, even the rules and regulations are founded on male characters. As such, these women have to compete against that even as they strive to break the societal barriers and to an extent stigma associated with it. This takes a great psychological resilience from these women as failure to achieve what men have accomplished will be construed as a justification as to why the sports should be for males. The pressure becomes even more burdening as the physiological conditions necessary for that game are brutal. Thus, the pressure to succeed for women in such sports is twofold.

In conclusion, participation in male-dominated sports by women takes a string will since they are subjected to unbearable pressure. The psychological strength that these women need even to play in the sports is incomparable. Various factors such as societal norms and gender stereotypes contribute to this pressure yet the will of these women breaks these barriers.

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