‘I’ve lost my football . . .’: rethinking gender, the hidden curriculum and sport in the global context: Laura Azzarito
Researchers have suggested that, despite some progress towards gender equity, the widespread notion of gender-appropriate physical activities in school PE and sport persists (Azzarito and Solmon, 2009; Gorely, et al., 2003; Oliver et al., 2009; Scraton et al., 1999). The problem with gender-appropriate physical activity practices is that such sites discriminate against girls’ participation in certain sports such as football or rugby (Clark and Paechter, 2007; Paechter, 2003). The social construction of those sports as male domains privileges boys’ engagement in those ‘masculinising’ practices. Football and/or rugby, for instance, are seen as particularly relevant to male identity formation as they emphasise masculine body performances such as forceful actions, physical contact, muscularity, bigness, power, and strength (Gorely et al., 2003). In conventional gender terms, those body performances fixate boys’ sense of self as masculine in opposition to girls’ feminine behaviour in sport. Although it could be argued that women’s participation in sports such as football is met with greater encouragement and acceptance today than in previous decades (Giardina, 2003), many young women either continue to be excluded or occupy marginal positions in such practices. At best, when included or legitimated, young women’s body experiences remain framed within the new gendered global order of sport (Azzarito, 2010).