Our attitudes towards gender in sports have become completely out of date, but how do we change that?
Competitive sports are rife with gender stereotypes. Boys can’t play with the girls, girls can’t play with the boys, and anyone outside of their gender role is usually scrutinized beyond belief.
A few brave individuals have challenged these norms. But, we’ve yet to figure out how to take these examples of perseverance and defiance and fight against athlete stereotypes on a large scale. In this post, we’re going to talk about how we might be able to change these attitudes and expand sports to include everyone.
Fighting Athlete Stereotypes
Reading about Cade Hildreth and Caster Semenya should inspire hope in our young athletes. These people prove that gender shouldn’t and doesn’t matter in sports, but unfortunately, there’s a large contingent of people stuck in the past that refuse to see this truth.
If we’re eventually going to change for the better, we’ve got to instill this belief in our children from a young age.
It Goes Beyond Sports
Girls and boys have always gotten told through parenting, pop-culture, and schooling that they’re supposed to be one thing and not the other. Our society (and other societies around the world) haven’t fully been able to accept anything but this simple and outdated belief.
As with anything else in life, gender can’t be separated into black and white or 1’s and 0’s. Thousands of brave individuals are constantly standing up to fight against hatred and it’s having a positive effect, changing many old-fashioned beliefs.
If we’re going to help challenge gender stereotypes in sports, we’ve got to tackle this issue in everyday life as well.
Parents, coaches, and teachers all need to step up and take the baton from the activists that have carried it alone all this time. If we can show our children a world without gender stereotypes, then we’ll see a much brighter future.
Moms don’t necessarily have to be the ones cheering in the stands while dads are on the sidelines coaching. Showing children that it’s okay for girls to play any sport that the boys do will go a long way.
We can also look at our professional athletes to break gender stereotypes. Idolizing our female athletes like the US women’s soccer team and WNBA players will show little boys that girls can be just as good or better than boys at sports and it’ll inspire little girls to become athletes themselves.
Integrate Everyone In the Beginning
What’s holding us back, from the very beginning, is the separation of boys and girls in sports. When they’re at such a young age, what good is there in making the boys play with the boys and the girls with the girls?
If you’re the parent of a young child, try putting them in a sports league that doesn’t differentiate between genders. The more kids that grow up knowing that boys and girls can play the same sports, the easier we’ll be able to tear down gender stereotypes in future athletes.
Leave the Old Fashioned World Behind
We’re certainly making progress when it comes to athlete stereotypes, but there’s still a lot of work to do. One day in the future, it should be acceptable and completely normal for anyone that’s got the ability to play a professional sport, regardless of their gender.
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