Sport is still a world dominated by men. From football to rugby, from tennis to golf, men are the most respected and best paid athletes. It could be said that the lack of female sport talent, in the public eye, at least, is a consequence of a macho, testosterone driven industry, which is encapsulated by one sex more than the other.
It goes without saying that the violence in rugby, the aggression in football, and the uniquely male-focused world of golf makes sportswomen hard to come by, let alone publicized in a stereotype-loving media; however, if you’ve ever seen a lacrosse game you’d know that the fairer sex is just as violent, aggressive and strategic as men. So, do we live in a sports world that hasn’t changed; are men still the rugged individuals that we envision they were 50 or more years ago?
If anything, apart from the biological, there isn’t that much that separates men and women in sport anymore: clothes are mostly unisex, coaches and managers are sexually interchangeable, and, most acutely of all, fashion and make up are as powerful to a man’s career as a woman’s. Just see the following video:
Ever since the perm took off in the 80s, men have increasingly become more and more at home with advertising brands and making themselves look good: so that they can land the coveted TV spot after they’ve entered their 35th year on this planet. Whereas a man’s ruggedness might have been useful, nay, desirable to older sports stars, the unforgiving environment of the television camera has made their interaction with beauty products not solely lucrative – earning them more than their salaries – but necessary to look and stay videogenic.
Is it a sad fact that an industry once aimed chiefly at women, now takes men just as seriously and caters for them to the same degree? Perhaps, but what’s really sad is the only real female influence on sport (directly or indirectly by actual women) has been the emergence of beauty in sport. In a way, the last two decades of David Beckham’s succumbing to his wife’s every fashion whim has had more of an effect on sport than all of the victories of Women’s and Girl’s arm of the FA.
If men can take on board the importance of beauty in our society, which has an equalizing effect (men understand and sympathize with women more than they could have done before), then men, specifically at the top of sport, should be pushing for more integration between men and women in sport: destroying segregation by gender; a philosophy that, as stated above, bears no real effect on how the sport is played. If men and women can become more equal at home and at work, then why not in sport?