Does stereotyping have an effect upon field positional choices of female Rugby Union players
University of Wales
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When women challenge conventional norms of heterosexual femininity, they possess great threat to the gender order, resulting in discrimination and stereotype to discourage them. The stereotype becomes increasingly encouraged when performance within sport is also contradictory to the conventional norms. Contradicting these beliefs, result in the emergence of stereotypes, in which sexuality is questioned through performance. The aim of the research is to identify whether stereotyping (if any) has an effect upon positional choices of female Rugby Union players. The study looked upon the characteristics influencing this stereotype and the generalisation developed from it. The main topics covered were stereotyping, generalisation, sexuality and image. Five female Rugby Union players ranging between the ages of 18-21 were interviewed for the study. Each participant had at least five years playing experience within rugby. Within the interview, specific questions were asked upon their experience of the stereotype and their positional choice. Relevant themes of image and sexuality also arose within the interview, which were also explored and discussed. The main findings of the study were that no individual chose their field position as an effect of stereotyping. Rather, they were placed within their position by their coach due to the characteristic stereotyping of that position. For example, forwards are characterised by strength and aggression, and backs by speed and agility. However, each individual recognised image to be the main influence of stereotyping. They recognised presentation of the self was a major factor in influencing the stereotype. This was identified through the characteristics, clothes and relationships the individuals possessed and demonstrated. Participants also felt that they were looked upon as playing emphasis on their sexuality, rather than an individual within rugby. They believed this was influenced through the female participation within a male gendered sport; challenging the gender order. Consequently, labels were applied to these individuals in hope to discourage them.
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