“Scary Dykes” and “Feminine Queens”: Stereotypes and Female Collegiate Athletes

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2 Bowling Green State University
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This investigation, framed in feminist and social identity perspectives, examined female athletes’ interpretations and reactions to the stereotypes ascribed to women in sport. Interviews with 15 female collegiate athletes revealed that the primary stereotypes directed at them were that they were lesbian and masculine. These stereotypes seemed to emanate from the athletes’ lack of conformity to hegemonic femininity (Choi, 1998; Krane, 2001a). Initially, the athletes responded to being typecast with anger and they used social mobility strategies (e.g., distancing from an athletic identity, performing femininity) to avoid negative perceptions. Both heterosexual and lesbian/bisexual athletes coped with being stereotyped and grew more comfortable with their own sexual identities and those of their teammates. This led to the development of inclusive team environments, collective esteem, and empowerment, with athletes speaking out against homonegative comments in other settings.

Kerrie Kauer 22 Sherman Avenue Northampton, MA 01060 Email: kkauer@email.smith.edu kkauer33@comcast.net Phone: (865) 207-9569

Vikki Krane Bowling Green State University 230 East Hall Bowling Green, OH 43403 Email: vkrane@bgnet.bgsu.edu Phone: (419) 372-2620

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