Review of “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities“ by Michael A. Messner
Sports have been widely socially seen as a typical masculine way for many young boys growing up. Football, basketball, baseball and hockey are seen as predominantly a male sport and many young children are placed on teams at a young age. Boys will have the push from mostly their fathers to go forth and pursue an athletic career. This, however, is just the typical view.
In reality, most boys will not become famed athletes and most will not even care about sports growing up. Maybe, they will play touch football in the park with their friends or some round of kickball but they aren’t enthused to the notion of becoming hardcore sports athletes.
Growing up, most of the guys in High School weren’t on sports teams but were widely spread out on a myriad of different types of hobbies. Some were in orchestra, artistic, in the science club and out of the guys that were on the sports teams, only a handful really went on to pursue sports in college. This can be due to the fact that families aren’t as involved in things as they used to be, this is how I see it.
Many families nowadays will have a mother and father that work and don’t really have too much time to put into taking kids to practices for years and years. I will admit that there are some that do put a ton of time into bringing their kids to practices but most really aren’t that headstrong about having their kids be athletes. The parents will now think of more realistic goals for their children to reach so they have a solid career and aren’t wasting their thoughts on pipe-dreams. The children also have much more freedom to decide what they would like to do.
With television, video games and movies children really do not go outside to play as much as they used to. Now, they will sit inside with their friends and have a tournament on Tony Hawk skateboarding games instead of actually getting on a skateboard themselves. The children will show little to no interest in going outside anymore. Personally, it’s a little sad to think that kids just want to sit inside all day and vegetate and not go explore outside. I also have seen that if a child doesn’t want to do something, the parents won’t make them.
I used to work at a daycare and I have seen so many parents just give into their children’s every whim. I applauded the parents that did not and actually stood their ground but from observation on the child’s attitudes when their parents were present (and even when they were not) gave the strong impression that the child was boss. If a kid doesn’t want to do something now, especially the Mothers, do not want to upset their children. I personally believe it’s partially due to the fact that they do not want to seem like they are making their children upset or it could be that they just don’t really care. Either way, there are lots of things that will allow the child to not be pushed to pursue something.
Girls, especially modernly, are getting into sports and still being able to retain their femininity. I believe that this proves the question at hand that guys do not have to be into sports or a “jock” to be masculine. Sports are a hobby and should not be the mold that shapes whether a person is more masculine than feminine. I have met many girls that are very into their sports like lacrosse and softball yet they still do their hair and their makeup and love to go shopping. I have also met girls that don’t do these things and are in fact a bit more on the masculine side.
The fact of the matter is, sports do not define a person’s sexuality. If a guy is into fashion he can be looked at as gay, if a girl wants to box then she is considered a man. These are all stereotypes that society has shaped in our minds throughout the years. They are mostly based on false evidence. Most men are not “jocks” because they do not have to be. Girls can play sports and retain their femininity because they can. It does not define a person.
Thoughts © Maria Campagna