Competing Against Stereotypes: The Female Athlete Experience
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This study examines the experiences of female varsity athletes related to gender stereotypes in the realm of sports. Dominant literature within the discipline of sports sociology recognizes the early distinction between masculine, feminine and gender-neutral sports. Studies conducted over the last three decades demonstrate an overall awareness of gender stereotypes and sport typing, yet how this gendered division of sport effects the athletes remains unclear. Drawing on data collected over the last three decades, I examine the existence and acknowledgement of gender stereotypes and sport typing in relation to female athletes and their participation in varsity athletics through semi-structured interviews. The data analysis shows that female athletes are aware of gender stereotyping in sport, although they do not explicitly acknowledge them as influencing their athletic experience. Rather, indirect expression of experience with gender stereotyping and subsequent coping strategies demonstrates that navigating gender stereotypes may be a subconscious effort, rather than exclusively visible coping strategies.