This investigation of sexual harassment in university sport begins by developing a theoretical framework based on feminist analyses of male violence, and examining the links between violence and the ideology of male sport. The organization of sport and physical education in Canadian universities is then described, and university women’s experiences of male violence in sport-related contexts is investigated, with particular reference to the issues of power relations in coaching and control of women’s bodies. Relevant findings from a preliminary survey of women’s experiences of sexual harassment in sport contexts are presented throughout the discussion, and recommendations are developed.
The discrimination experienced by women in sport in North America has been well documented (e.g., Hall, 1987; Lenskyj, 1986; Uhlir, 1987), and the gains made in the last two decades owe much to the efforts of feminists, both inside and outside sport. However, the situation of lesbians in sport has only recently received attention in academic and professional sport circles, and then only as one aspect of sportswomen’s private lives for which they are subjected to discrimination. And although feminist scholarship of the 1970s and 1980s has investigated the political implications of lesbianism in considerable depth, the specific concerns of lesbians in sport contexts have for the most part been neglected. This paper examines the discrimination faced by lesbians in sport and develops a radical feminist analysis of these experiences. Recent developments in national sports organizations in North America are presented as case studies and analyzed in terms of their political perspective and potential.
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj
In the following discussion, I will critically review selected research on lesbians in sport and physical education. This is not intended as a comprehensive coverage of every publication on the issue, but rather an overview of trends in research and literature since the 1970s.1 I will begin by examining how the broader issues of gender and sexuality have been taken up in sport literature, and then turn to work that focuses on lesbians’ experiences of homophobia and heterosexism in sport, historically and in the last two decades. A discussion of physical education will follow, and finally, literature on softball will be reviewed as a case study of a sport that is arguably more successful than most in celebrating a lesbian presence.