The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore internalized lesbophobia and eating disorder symptomatology among lesbian current and former athletes and the possible link between the two phenomena. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 physically active adult lesbians who had at least 10 years of athletic experience. Lesbophobia was defined as the internalization of society’s negative attitudes and assumptions regarding lesbianism. Eating disorder symptomatology was defined as attitudes and behaviors associated with eating pathology (e.g., body dissatisfaction, weight preoccupation, fat phobia, frequent dieting, fasting, bingeing/purging, and other weight control measures). Findings suggested a connection between internalized lesbophobia and eating disorder symptomatology, that is, individuals who expressed greater negativity associated with being a lesbian, particularly concerns about being perceived as lesbian, reported more body dissatisfaction, weight preoccupation, fat phobia, and other eating disordered attitudes and behaviors. The social implications of these findings are discussed.
Cynthia A. Hasbrook
While there appears to be valid evidence to support the notion that sport participation is related to social class, such a relationship has not been clearly and directly demonstrated to exist among youth. Consequently, data from two studies that specifically investigated the potential relationship between formal youth sport participation and social class background are reported. The findings indicate that regardless of social class background, male youth participate in sport to an equal extent whereas female youth from lower social class backgrounds tend to participate in sport to a lesser degree than do their upper-class counterparts. Several explanations for these somewhat unexpected findings are offered, including the possibility of a diminishing relationship between sport participation and social class background. The multiple hierarchy notion of stratification is offered as a theoretical model in which to couch the major finding that sport participation appears to be stratified along social class lines among female youth but not among male youth.
Douglas E. Martin and Richard A. Dodder
© 1993 Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
In the early 1970s Spreitzer and Snyder developed the Psychosocial Functions of Sport Scale to assess people’s perceptions of the importance of sport, and they administered this instrument to a sample of Toledo, Ohio, residents. This study reassesses the reliability and construct validity of the scale and examines college students’ perceptions of the importance of sport. Factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha indicate that Spreitzer and Snyder’s scale meets the criteria of reliability and construct validity. An item analysis indicates that most subjects believe sport to be important for individuals and society. Subjects’ responses to 12 of the 15 items are strikingly similar to the response distribution reported by Spreitzer and Snyder; however, there are notable differences on three of the items, suggesting that the present sample did not view sport as an institution that develops good citizens, promotes fair play, or alleviates drug problems in society.
Sarah R. Crissey and Joy Crissey Honea
This study examines the relationship between sport participation and perceptions of body size and weight-loss strategies among adolescent girls. Using a sample of 7,214 girls, ages 12–18 years, from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we find that girls who participate in stereotypically feminine sports are more likely to report feeling overweight, attempt to lose weight, and use multiple weight-loss strategies compared with nonathletes. We also find that the associations for weight loss, but not overweight perception, are generally weaker for non-White girls. These findings suggest that participation in stereotypically feminine sports, particularly for White girls, might exacerbate body image and dieting problems associated with dominant gender roles, but participation in stereotypically masculine sports does not.
The purposes of this exploratory study were to examine athletic body image and social body image among former competitive female athletes. Additionally, the perceived influence of past competitive experiences on current body image was explored. In-depth interviews were conducted with six former competitive collegiate athletes. The participants ranged in age from 23 to 31, with a mean age of 26. Common factors reported as influencing how participants felt about their bodies as athletes included uniforms, teammates, appearance, fitness, and coach attitudes and behaviors. Participants’ experiences and feelings about their bodies in athletic and social settings varied. Participants recognized some conflict between their athletic body and social ideals, however this incongruence did not seem problematic for most of the participants. Across participants, their current feelings and thoughts about their bodies were based on their former competitive athletic bodies.
Peter Millward and George Poulton
This article explores the establishment and development of fan-owned association football club, F.C. United of Manchester. It does this by drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork, including interviews, observations and an analysis of multiple texts, such as fanzines, web-based and media reports materials and discusses this using Herbert Blumer’s theory of collective behavior. As such, the article addresses two research questions: first, what the empirical case example of F.C. United of Manchester offers to the critical understanding of Blumer’s theory and second, what the theory can give to the understanding of twenty-first century protests in popular culture. Therefore this article contributes to contemporary debates on association football fandom, social movements and the theories of Herbert Blumer.
Elizabeth C.J. Pike
The proposal that older people should engage in “active aging” has come to dominate local, national, and international policy agendas. This encompasses a variety of ways that older persons might maintain active citizenship, but invariably promotes physical activity and exercise as having health and social benefits, despite a lack of conclusive evidence to support such claims. In this paper, I further examine the meaning of these claims through an analysis of policy documents, reports, and media articles which promote the perceived benefits of physical activity in later life. I revisit Cohen’s (2002) concepts of folk devils and moral panics to understand how these messages simultaneously problematize older people while creating a market for emergent moral entrepreneurs who claim to have the solution to the problem they have in part created. I conclude with recommendations for improved understanding of the benefits and appropriate provision for active aging.
Neal Christopherson, Michelle Janning and Eileen Diaz McConnell
The 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship serves as a particularly good site for examining both the social construction of gender and the structure of contradiction surrounding women’s role in sport and society. We conducted a content analysis of 576 American newspaper articles reporting on the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship. Contradictory messages surrounding women and sports were present, as past research has suggested. An analysis of more qualitative aspects of our data reveals the structure of these contradictions and provides substantial depth to this analysis. We discuss how the media actively promoted or constructed certain gender ideologies and how these gender ideologies contributed to the popularity of the event.
Brian Wilson and Robert Sparks
This paper examines the impacts of athletic-apparel commercial messages on youth and youth cultures. Sneaker companies routinely use celebrity Black athletes, like Michael Jordan, to help position and market their premium brands. While concerns have been raised over the potential negative impacts of this practice, the processes through which athletic-apparel commercials become interpreted and assimilated into youth cultures have not been well-researched, A study is reported that used focus-group methodology and Radway’s (1991) concept of “interpretive communities” to examine how Black and non-Black male adolescents view sneaker commercials and celebrity Black athletes. This paper explores the ways that “cultural power” and “symbolic power” (Lull, 1995) are exercised by both the sneaker companies that feature celebrity Black athlete spokespersons and by the youth “communities” that consume these images. Overall, the youth in the study comprised two distinct interpretive communities defined by cultural differences related to their distinct social locations and racial identities.
Donald Chu and David Griffey
The contact theory of racial integration is examined in this survey of the behaviors and attitudes of secondary school students and student-athletes. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 1,082 subjects in the urban upstate New York area. Subjects were evaluated on two behavioral (race of students talked to, race of students phoned) and three attitudinal (like more friends of other races, choose interracial school, or races smarter than others) dependent variables. Dependent measures were evaluated relative to their correlations with a number of independent variables (athlete/nonathlete, individual or cooperative sport played, sport experience, won-lost record, exposure to minorities, sex, social status). Results of the study argue for consideration of the contact theory’s applicability to the sport situation.