Although sport is regarded as a bastion of male hegemony, coed settings offer females the opportunity to compete alongside males. Coed environments, however, often include rule modifications that intend to facilitate female participation, which promote female inferiority assumptions. This study sought to critique modifications in the divisive world of coed flag football through the lens of benevolent sexism and the shifting standards model. Observational field notes and interview data gathered over a season revealed that the equity perceived to be legislated by rule modifications was overshadowed by negative outcomes, as modifications perpetuated stereotypes and reinforced an environment of male domination. We discuss the ubiquity of male superiority beliefs within coed flag football and implications of the unintended consequences of rule modifications.
The authors are with the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.