Title

Continuing the Battle of the Sexes: Masculinity, Femininity, and (In)Equality in Professional Tennis

Lead Author Major

Pre-Dentistry and Gender Studies

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jennifer Helgren

Faculty Mentor Department

History

Abstract/Artist Statement

Debate surrounds the sport world because it is both an arena for feminist attempts at equality and a realm for proving masculine power. Tennis has gradually moved towards gender equality in some ways, such as equal prize money. However, gender inequality is present in other aspects of the men’s and women’s tour, including the unequal ratio of male to female coaches, lack of females in tennis administration, and public perception of female players as inferior and uninteresting compared to male players. The inequality is further emphasized by the hegemonic femininity and masculinity of tennis players, where the hegemonic femininity is white, European, heterosexual, and English-speaking, and the hegemonic masculinity depends more on ability rather than appearance. I provide historical context of the formation and development of tennis, focusing on the marginalization and supposed inferiority of female players. I also discuss the struggle for equal prize money at tournaments. To examine aspects of gender inequality in tennis, I use case studies, statistics, and interviews. I focus on more current incidents, such as criticism over top player Andy Murray appointing Amelie Mauresmo as his coach. I discuss the hegemonic femininity of the women’s tour through examining the earning power and sexualized appeal of Maria Sharapova. I contrast Sharapova with African Americans Venus and Serena Williams, who are seen as “other” and face sexism and racism. Martina Navratilova and Mauresmo are also analyzed as deviants to the heterosexual hegemonic femininity. In contrast, I argue that the hegemonic masculinity focuses mainly on achievements.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

25-4-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 25th, 10:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 PM

Continuing the Battle of the Sexes: Masculinity, Femininity, and (In)Equality in Professional Tennis

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Debate surrounds the sport world because it is both an arena for feminist attempts at equality and a realm for proving masculine power. Tennis has gradually moved towards gender equality in some ways, such as equal prize money. However, gender inequality is present in other aspects of the men’s and women’s tour, including the unequal ratio of male to female coaches, lack of females in tennis administration, and public perception of female players as inferior and uninteresting compared to male players. The inequality is further emphasized by the hegemonic femininity and masculinity of tennis players, where the hegemonic femininity is white, European, heterosexual, and English-speaking, and the hegemonic masculinity depends more on ability rather than appearance. I provide historical context of the formation and development of tennis, focusing on the marginalization and supposed inferiority of female players. I also discuss the struggle for equal prize money at tournaments. To examine aspects of gender inequality in tennis, I use case studies, statistics, and interviews. I focus on more current incidents, such as criticism over top player Andy Murray appointing Amelie Mauresmo as his coach. I discuss the hegemonic femininity of the women’s tour through examining the earning power and sexualized appeal of Maria Sharapova. I contrast Sharapova with African Americans Venus and Serena Williams, who are seen as “other” and face sexism and racism. Martina Navratilova and Mauresmo are also analyzed as deviants to the heterosexual hegemonic femininity. In contrast, I argue that the hegemonic masculinity focuses mainly on achievements.