In the past century, sports have been evolving for the better and for the worse. The amount of stereotypes that have formed in sports is sad to see especially in today’s age of diversity. So many people around the world have had hurtful experiences with stereotypes. Many athletes don’t even realize they are being stereotypical to someone most of the time. As an athlete, I too have caught myself assuming something about a person just because of what the environment in sports and society has created. This stereotypical environment is rooted from society; it causes many problems with the sexuality and gender of athletes and what it means to be masculine or feminine.
Toxic masculinity is the idea of the constant need for a man to be masculine. Toxic masculinity is the sole motive for the stereotypes in sports. Many athletes feel forced to be masculine in order to perform. Society needs to understand that athletes do not need to be masculine in order to be “tough”. This applies to men and women in sports. The definition of masculine is anything pertaining to or a characteristic of a man or men. It doesn’t mention anything about women in the definition. This is why masculinity shouldn’t even be a part of sports but our society has made it an important implication for athletes. For women it impacts them even more and the criticism of female sports has been a growing problem around the world for decades.
All of this has a large effect on female athletes' careers and their mental and physical health. The media does not care about the feelings of people they report on. These reports solely reflect on the negative aspects of an athlete’s behavior which can tear down a person’s confidence. A constant problem in female sports is the underpaying of athletes. The stereotype that women are inferior to men as athletes is very untrue.
All people no matter their gender should be treated with respect and should be recognized for who they are as athletes.
Many women around the world can do the same skills that men can do and yet they are still severely underpaid. Megan Rapinoe is a sole activist for the increase in pay for female athletes. Megan Rapinoe is a lesbian professional soccer player for the U.S. Women’s National Team and a two time World Cup winner. She has filed several lawsuits against U.S. soccer for the equal pay of female athletes. The WNBA is a perfect example of what needs to change in the industry of sports. The league is seen as a joke to many people and that needs to change. People laugh and make jokes about these sorts of things all the time but don’t realize that they have impacts they have on the lives of female athletes.
Another recurring problem besides gender is the sexuality of athletes. More and more athletes are coming out in recent years. A person has no way of knowing if they are going to be accepted for who they are if they come out to their teammates and coaches. This confusion causes many problems in teams especially in the locker room. Athletes are accepting but can still feel uncomfortable around a member of the LGBTQ in a locker room environment. It doesn’t matter what your sexuality is, it shouldn’t make people think your performances are worse just because of the gender you are attracted to.
It is an intrusion of the athletes personal life and should be dealt with outside of their career. For example, Brad Thorson, a former NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals, came out as homosexual in July of 2011. He explains how he was inspired to do it because of other athletes who have come out. People like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Brian Sims all made the process of coming out much easier because they encouraged him with their stories. All of this relates to the constant evolution of sports and what we need to do as a society to fix the many problems. Personally, I believe within the next decade there will be a major increase in the number of LGBTQ members in leagues all around the world. This will only improve the diversity and teach people that a person’s sexuality or gender does not define who they are on and off the field.