The Impact Of Homophobia In Intercollegiate Athletics Research Paper Sample
Traditionally sports are highly gender-conscious and are always in strict adherence to male culture, dominance and refusal of gender variations outside that of the traditional female and male. This institution defines and perpetuates society’s image of masculinity and rejection of homosexuality—the LGB (lesbian, gays and bisexual) which breeds fear of being identified as gay, and deny them the ability to express their gender orientation in fear of ruining their careers and being ostracized by their peers. This paper attempts to prove that media and negative recruiting promotes homophobia in intercollegiate sports.
Homosexuality and homophobia is perpetuated by media through their portrayal of homosexuality. The paper tackles on media and it’s stereotyping of male athletes as alpha-males, their perception of their supposed traits and physical appearance (Kian and Anderson 2009) and the female athletes as sex symbols (Armstrong 2013). Contingent with this is their negative media coverage of homosexuality.
Another aspect of sports promoting homophobia is the negative recruiting practices of recruiters. This is a strategy to steer potential recruits away from other competing sports teams by suggestions of homosexuality among coaches or players on other teams. Families of recruits become hesitant to join some athletics programs because of supposed homosexual cultures (Baird 2002). Negative recruiting uses slanders and insults to competitions base on sexuality and gender, attaching negative connotation on homosexuality, and fuelling homophobia.
This paper examines how homosexuality and homophobia becomes an issue on male dominated sports institution vis-à-vis the changing nature of society’s perception and attitude towards the LGB community.
Media and Stereotyping
Homophobia is a tool for heterosexist institutions to enforce the values and image of masculinity. Physical strength, aggressiveness and competitiveness are ingredients for a winning team and these are attributes commonly associated with alpha-males. Interestingly, when institutions or even a societies have females in equal footings with male, meaning they are given the same opportunities and are occupying same positions and roles as men do, these institutions and societies become tolerant and even accepting of homosexuality. On the other hand, male-centric institutions like military, or societies like Middle East, do not condone men exhibiting female traits or women exhibiting male traits.
Media perpetuates stereotypes. Armstrong (2009) evaluated female athletes and how they are packaged by the media. Women athletes are packaged by media—especially in advertisement—as sex symbols. They are often seen with lack of clothing but with fierce expression (Carty 2008 as cited by Armstrong 2009), emphasizing their femininity over their athletic accomplishments.
Hostility towards gay athleticism could also be attributed to the media’s portrayal of male as aggressive, powerful, assertive and heterosexual (Kian and Anderson 2009). This is the ideal male and a “contrasts to what it means to be feminine and/or gay” (Anderson 2002)
Homophobia has also been attributed to African American domination of the American sports team. The African American culture is also largely male-dominated and traditional in gender views.
Hoper and Holleran (2007) conducted a study assessing male college athletes and their perceptions on homosexuals. They found out that male college athletes have more negative attitude towards homosexuals than female athletes. Additionally, they are more averse to gay men than to lesbians.
Media Coverage and Homosexuality
Another factor on homophobia and discrimination of gay athleticism are the media coverage and the content and direction it guides its audience to concerning homosexuality in sports. Although overt homophobia is not frequently seen in sports news (Kian and Anderson 2009) it is interesting to note that most often, gay athletes are sensationalised and at most times ridiculed by spectators. At times, they are ignored by the media because of their sexual orientation (Pedersen 2013). But stthere are studies on media coverage being less and less homophobic and are in fact conforming to the new era's idea of homosexuality and are putting it into a light were it is acceptable. Overall research on the content and analysis of media coverage on homosexuals are still too broad (Pedersen 2013).
However, the Council of Europe, pointed out in regards to sports journalism and discrimination that sports coverage is in need of in-depth reporting of 'hidden discrimination'. Sports coverages are superficial, and that American sports news cover are usually of previews and game results and only at least four percent were about sports issues (Council of Europe).
The news sets the tone and stage for their audiences. The media, although they did not claim overt rejection on homosexuality in covering Amaechi's "outing", Kian and Anderson (2009) observed that the news mocked the "newsworthiness" of such issue. They also observed that news reporters seemed to try to reinforce the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy similar to that of the military. The policy discourages homosexuals to "come-out" and to remain under the light. Griffin (2008) gave the term conditional tolerance, or tolerating their sex in teams, only so far as that they are in the background and are invisible (as cited by Aitchison 2007). This delegates the lesbian athletes to constantly check their actions and appearance in public.
Negative Recruiting in Promotion for Normal Life and Family Focused Agenda
It is never wrong to think of having a normal life—but having stereotypes as exhibited in the process of negative recruiting practices of collegiate sport recruiters should be eliminated to avoid discrimination. Though it is understandable that culture must be respected and followed most especially of the next generations, it is also necessary to know how to understand and adapt to the change in the environment that were mostly brought about by the advancements in technology and development in sectors of each and every nation. Just like how laws adapt to the needs and wants of the masses, people should do the same and so people should know how to deal and accept the people in contemporary society.
It is true that negative recruitment processes promotes normal life, but it is decipherable that even members of the homophobic population shall experience living a normal life too. They would always want to feel as if they are totally accepted by the environment or society they believe they are part of, because that completes their sense of well-being. Nevertheless, no family would want a certain family member be denied in being part of such recreational activities only because of his or her sexual orientation. Equality should always be achieved and respect should always be its contingent.
Using Negative Recruiting to diminish Rivals through Criticism Insults
Negative recruiting is a form of unethical recruitment attempting to perceive programs with unfair advantage since it is based on the stereotypes. Families of recruits become hesitant to join some athletics programs because of supposed homosexual cultures (Baird 2002). Negative recruiting uses slanders and insults to competitions base on sexuality and gender, attaching negative connotation on homosexuality, and fueling homophobia.
Homophobic persons experience difficulty in adapting to the changes and criticisms present in the environment. Giving them an opportunity to join activities and sports can benefit them in two different and contrasting ways—either they will learn to empower themselves, or they will feel blue and down especially when they are asked to do something that they are not capable of because of the limitations imposed by their sexuality and gender. In this case, negative recruiting can be beneficial to the population of homophobic people if they would let themselves empower their personality and inner strength. However, if a certain person, for example, has a very low emotional quantity, then he or she will be having a hard time coping up with the criticisms imposed by a certain group of people. In that scenario, the use of negative recruiting practices will be a hindrance towards the attainment of self-confidence, self-actualization and most importantly, the spirit of competency since we are looking at it under the category of sports management.
Rivals and criticisms cannot be stopped whenever somebody does not want to hear one. As others consider, one should not be stopped from expressing his or her feelings, insights, criticisms and any other form of expression because all the people living on Earth has the freedom of expression. One of the things that can be done to make negative recruiting a positive thing—meaning it can diminish rivalry and criticisms in the field of sports, is knowing how to cope up with bashes, know how to counterpart those and consider each and every form of rivalry and criticisms as motivation towards success, and know how to stand up even though almost everyone is pushing you and stabbing you behind your back.
Summary and Recommendations
This study has tried to evaluate that negative recruiting and media influence homophobia and heterosexism in college level or collegiate sports. Recommendations will also be given as possible solutions to counter and contrast the negative results of the study.
There are a lot of factors affecting and influencing homophobia and heterosexism that exist in different areas around the globe, depending on the culture and characteristics of people living in a certain community. Among these factors are negative recruitment practices of the recruiters most specifically in the college level or collegiate sports, and the use of media as it emphasizes the physical appearance of athletes in portraying homophobia and heterosexism.
Negative recruitment affects and influences homophobia and heterosexism in two ways—one is in the promotion for normal life or the stereotypical form and way of life, and the other one is through diminishing the number of rivals using criticisms and insults. On the other hand, media also impacts heterosexism and homophobia in two ways—one is through having negative media coverage, where in people focus on the negative perceptions on homophobia and heterosexism. Indeed, homosexuality and homophobia is perpetuated by media as they portray the stereotypes of homosexuality.
Since the study includes the recommendations to further lessen the gap between homophobic, negative recruitment practices of recruiters and media coverage, it is necessary to primarily eliminate these negative recruitment practices. It may really diminish rivalry but it further discriminates and worsens the state of a homophobic person as it does not allow any part of the population of homophobic to join sports. Also, the other recommendation would be about and reflective to the negative implications of media to the lives of these members of the homophobic populations. Media should be more neutral in portraying gender especially in the contemporary period. It should not put emphasis and priority to the stereotypical genders because it also endorses discrimination just the same with the effects of negative recruitment processes. Equal-footing must be observed since in the contemporary society, large portion of the population are becoming open to more genders than masculinity and femininity.
After all the researchers regarding the use of media in emphasizing the physical appearance of athletes to portray homophobia or heterosexism, negative media coverage, negative recruiting in promotion for normal life and family focused agenda, and in using negative recruiting to diminish rivals through criticisms and insults, it is safe to conclude that homophobia is a serious matter and so it does not be disregarded especially in media, and in sports per se.
Therefore, to avoid further inequality and discrimination among the existing sexes in the world, media and recruiters must stop choosing the stereotypes rather also choose people with other sexes to improve their sense of well-being. Since they are still the same people who breathe air, dink water, eat food and socialize in order to survive and live their lives to the fullest, then they should also be given importance, the same as people give importance and values to people who are masculine or feminine. It is already type to eliminate the stereotypical because, to some extent, it has becoming irrelevant. Due to the advancement in technologies and developments in the way people live, such changes—including the existence of heterosexists and homophobic, are becoming inevitable. Therefore, to make them feel their humanity, they should be fully accepted by the society without any form of discrimination and elimination because it worsens their fear and even their self-confidence and spirit.
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