Brackenridge%2C+2002%2C+Men+loving+men+hating+women

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Unformatted text preview: 254 C. Obel Klein, Alan M., 1985a: “Muscle Manor: The Use of Sport Metaphor and History in Sport Sociology”. In: Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol. 9:4—17. Klein, Alan, M., 1985b: “Pumping Iron". In: Society, Vol. 22(4):68—75. Klein, Alan M., 1986: “Pumping Irony: Crisis and Contradiction in Bodybuilding”. In: Sociology ofSports Journal. Vol. 3: 1 12—133. Klein, Alan M., 1987: “Fear and Self-Loathing in Southern California: Narcissism and Fascism in Bodybuilding Subculture”. In: Journal of Psychoanalytical Anthropology, Vol. 10(2):117—-137. Klein, Alan M., 1989: “Managing Deviance: Hustling, Homophobia, and the Bodybuilding Subculture”. In: Deviant Behavior, Vol. 10:11—27. Klein, Alan M., 1992: “Man Makes Himself: Alienation and Self-Objectification in Bodybuilding”. In: Play & Culture, Vol. 51326—637. Klein, Alan M., 1993: Little Big Men: Bodybuilding Subculture and Gender Construction, Albany; State University of New York Press. Kuhn, Annette, 1988: “The Body and Cinema: Some Problems for Feminism”. In: Susan Sheridan (ed.): Grafts: Essays in Feminist Cultural theory. London; Verso. pp. 11—23. Lingis, A., 1988: “Orchids and Muscles”. In: William J. Morgan and Klaus V. Meier (eds): Philosophical Inquiry in Sport. Champaign, Illinois; Human Kinetics Publ., pp. 125—136. Lucas, Janet, 1991: “Living Sculptures”. In: More, Oct., pp. 60—64. Mansfield, Alan and McGinn, Barbara, 1993: “Pumping Irony: The Muscular and the Fem— inine”. In: Sue Scott and David Morgan (eds): Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body. London: The Falmer Press. pp. 49—68. Miller, Toby, 1990: “Sport, Media and Masculinity”. In: David Rowe and Geoff Lawrence (eds): Sport and Leisure — Trends in Australian Popular Culture. Sydney; HBJ Publishers, pp. 96—108. Miller, Leslie and Penz, Otto, 1991: “Talking Bodies: Female Bodybuilders Colonize a Male Preserve”. In: Quest, 43: 148~163. Nelson, Maria Burton, 1991: “You Can’t Just Be Muscular”. In: Are We Winning Yet? How Women are Changing Sports are Changing Women. New York: Random House, pp. 97—116. Obel, Camilla, 1993: Negotiating Nature: Bodybuilding and the Art of Being Some Body, unpublished M.A. Thesis. Sociology Department, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand. Pally, Marcia, 1985: “Women of Iron". In: Film Comment, Vol. 21 (July—Aug): 60—64. Schulze, Laurie, 1990: “On the Muscle”. In: Jane Gaines and Charlotte Herzog (eds): Fabrications, Costume and the Female Body, New York; Routledge, Chap. 4, pp. 59—78. Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 1984: Arnold‘s Bodybuilding for Men. New York: Simon and Schuster. Umbers, Lee, 1992: “O’Neil shapes up to THE PROFESSIONALS: In NZ Sports Monthly, May, pp. 38—39. Weider, Joe. 1984: Competitive Bodybuilding, Chicago: Contemporary Books. Weider, Joe. 1985: Pumping Up. Supershaping The Female Physique. New York: Sterling Publ. Weider, Joe, 1991: “Preserving Body Elegance”. In: Muscle & Fitness, Editorial (Month unknown):7 Wuthnow, R., 1988: Communities of Discourse: Ideology and Social Structure in the Reformation, the Enlightenment and European Socialism. Harvard University Press. ”% i 17 Men loving men hating women: The crisis of masculinity and violence to women in sport* Celia Brackenridge Introduction . . . violence against women is not an inevitable outgrowth of male biology, male sexuality, or male hormones. It is ‘male conditioning’ not the ‘condition of being male’, that appears to be the problem . . . it is partly men’s insecurity about their masculinity that promotes abusive behaviour towards women. (Heise in Lancaster and di Leonardol997: 424—5) In this chapter I shall argue that we are hampered in our understanding of Violence in sport by narrow definitions of fair play, especially in the literature on children‘s sports. Casting fair play as ‘faimess between players’ leaves us in difficulties when things go wrong on the field of play since we tend then to look for the causes and solutions of these problems amongst the players themselves. In other words, we use micro—social, often pathological, tools to try to understand the problems of cheating, aggression and violence when macro-social analyses are also needed. I am arguing, therefore, that social psychology and the psychology of the individual too often dominate our thinking on these issues yet offer impoverished accounts of violence unless social and cultural perspectives are also considered. Sexual violence is one of the many expressions of unfairness in sport but one which, until very recently, has been absent from both the research and policy agendas in sport. Violence, I suggest, is also narrowly defined in ways that draw our attention to public examples of aggressive outbursts by men but which render invisible sexual violations privately perpetrated by them on women and children. This approach to violence applies both inside and outside sport. It is the reason that there is far greater investment in social policy initiatives to deal with ‘the problem of male violence’ and far less to deal with the private suffering of women and children (see Figure 17.1). In short, then, naughty boys draw political interest 3nd large sums of research and policy money whereas suffering women and girls 0 not. *' This chapter is drawn and abridged from Spoilsports: Understanding and Preventing Sexual Exploita— tion in Sport (2001) Taylor & Francis and from a paper in the proceedings of the 2000 European Fair Play Congress in Israel. 256 C. Brackenridge OUTSIDE SPORT INSIDE SPORT Public spaces Private spaces ‘arena’ ‘locker room’ Public spaces Private spaces ‘street’ ‘home’ Violence between Bullying, players on the field harassment and sexual exploitation between peers and by authority figures Violence between Domestic violence young men to women and children Figure 17.] Public and private sexual exploitation and violence inside and outside sport. Sport is a sex segregated social institution. The separation of sports into male and female on biological grounds is reinforced by powerful ideological and pollt- ical mechanisms. Woven into these sex and gender divisions is the heterosexual imperative that privileges particular expressions of masculinity above others and above all types of femininity. Social domination through violence is, of course, not exclusively based on gender and sexuality, although these are the focus of thls paper: race, class and disability issues are also associated with Violence, although their association with sexual violence in sport is under-researched. Sexual violence in and around sport is closely linked to two projects of recent times, one theoretical and one socio—political. The first is the body project, which has come to dominate theoretical accounts of the structure-agency inter- face (Theberge 1991; Shilling 1993; Hall 1993). The second is the project — some might say rearguard action — of developing and maintaining the pr1v11eges of heterosexual masculinity. Individual and collective violent responses can ensue whenever this latter project is threatened, whether by the incursion of women into sport, the exposure of homosexuality in sport, or by individual men’s own failure to live up to the heterosexual masculine standard. My purpose here IS to consrder why this situation has arisen and what might be done to allevrate it. I Will suggest that both institutional and personal violence to women in sport are examples of violence through sport that are consequences of the crisis of masculinity that has been brought about by late modernity. Definitions Sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in sport emerged as social problems in the 1970s, 19805 and 19905 respectively: they are presented here as a continuum of sexual violence, each conceptualized discretely but linked func- tionally (see Figure 17.2). Each stems from an abuse of power, whether personal, institutional or both. One of the most important aspects of power IS the power a fi if. Men loving men hating women 257 SEX DISCRIMINATION SEXUAL HARASSMENT SEXUAL ABUSE a) INSTITUTIONAL ................................................................................. ..PERSONAL Job-related distinctions Personal threats, ridicule, Le. uniair treatment based on sex propositions or touching i.e. invasion without consent Sexual assault, rape, exchange of sex for privileges with threats to. sex through threats “the chilly climate” “unwanted attention " "groomed or coerced " Figure 17.2 The sexual violence continuum. to name or to resist definitions made by those in power. With reference to sex- ual exploitation, both within and beyond sport, the power of men to define what counts as Violence and what does not, leaves us with narrow definitions that invari— ably benefit men. For example, defining sexual violence only as more extreme, injury-provoking outbursts excludes the wide range of everyday invasions by men, made without consent, into women’s life spaces. It ignores institutional violence of discrimination in pay, resources, career provision and safety and the emotional and psychological abuses of neglect, deprivation, insensitivity and oppression that many women suffer day by day, week by week, year by year from their male partners and colleagues. My definition of violence (following Heam 1996; 1998; Kelly 1988) as ‘that which violates’ is then a controversial one but one which allows us to address violence in sport as a systemic issue rather than merely an interpersonal one. I shall focus on sexual violence to women and girls by men in sport but want to stress at the outset that boys are also sexually exploited in sport settings. Certainly, most of the research data on sexual exploitation in sport concerns its effects on girls and young women. This is not because boys and young men escape such problems, as official statistics demonstrate (Ferguson and Mullen 1999). I shall not address sexual exploitation by women authority figures in sport since so few women are in positions of power and since we have almost no research evidence on this theme to draw from at this point. Evidence of sexual violence to women in sport What is the evidence for violence to women and girls in sport? Recent empirical studies in Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark, Holland and Britain indicate that the gains in gender equity of the past thirty years are probably illusory. Rather than being strangers, the perpetrators of serious sexual exploitation are usually known to their victims, and studies outside sport confimi the pattern that rapists are more likely to be known than unknown to the victim (Watson 1996). Women 258 C. Brackenridge in sport, especially those at the elite level, face sexual harassment and abuse from their athlete peers, their non—athlete peers and from their coaches. Very few sport-specific data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual exploita- tion are available. Under-reporting is a common problem in research studies of rape, for obvious reasons of confidentiality and post—disclosure victimization. According to Donnelly (1999) there are several strong indicators that the inci~ dence of sexual harassment in sport is under-reported, which he suggests is related to sport culture. Lenskyj (1992: 21) adds: Like women working in other traditionally male—dominated fields, many female athletes appear to grow resigned to the frequent acts of verbal and physical harassment in the sport context. The figures available suggest that large numbers of young people enter sport clubs and programmes having already experienced the stresses and trauma of sexual exploitation within their own. Since it is known that sex offenders target the vulnerable, these individuals, especially if intensely committed to sporting goals, are likely to be especially susceptible to sexual approaches either by unscrupulous authority figures or by bullying peers (Brackenridge and Kirby 1997). The first national level survey of sexual harassment in sport, amongst 1,200 Canadian Olympians (Kirby and Greaves 1996), showed that sexual harassment and abuse by authority figures were widespread practices. Twenty-nine per cent of all respondents (n = 266) complained of having experienced upsetting sexual comments or advances. Twenty-two per cent replied that they had had sexual intercourse with persons in positions of authority in sport. Nine per cent reported they had experienced forced sexual intercourse, 0r rape, with such persons. Twenty— three of them were under 16 years of age at the time of the sexual assault, in other words they had experienced child sexual assault (defined as rape in some countries). Sexually exploitative behaviours were differentially experienced by gender in this study. Females demonstrated: a higher degree of vulnerability; higher awareness of the issues; more instances of abuse and harassment; and wider variation of abuses than did their male athlete peers. Fifty-five per cent of the female athletes reported experiencing upsetting putdowns (humiliation) in sport. Reviewing several studies in sport, MacGregor (1998) suggested that between 40 and 50 per cent of sport participants, experience a negative and uncomfortable environment in their encounters with other people in these settings, caused by everything from mild harassment to sexual abuse. A Danish study across twelve different sports (Toftegaard 1998), of 275 coaches and 250 sports students’ atti- tudes towards harassment and abuse, found that 25 per cent of athletes either knew about, or had themselves experienced when under 18 years old, sexual harassment or abuse by a coach. The coaches were clear what was right and wrong but their behaviour did not always match their expressed attitudes. Nearly 6 per cent were in doubt about whether having a relationship with an athlete under eighteen was ‘completely unacceptable’ even though it is illegal in Denmark and carries a four year jail sentence. Twenty per cent had had a sexual relationship with one of their Men loving men hating women 259 athletes above eighteen years of age and 66 per cent thought that this was accept— able: six coaches (2.6 per cent) said they had actually had such a relationship with an athlete under 18. It was the youngest coaches who were least aware of how, and under which circumstances, such problems could occur. In Australia, from a screening questionnaire given to 1,100 elite athletes, Leahy (1999) reported that 2 per cent of men and 27 per cent women had experienced sexual harassment in sport and 3 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women reported abuse experiences. Mindful of the limitations of surveys for studying this very sensitive topic, Fasting, Brackenridge and Sundgot Borgen (2000) carried out a study of sexual harassment patterns amongst 660 elite females in 58 sport disciplines in Norway and compared the results with those from an age-matched control sample of non—elite athletesz, with follow-up qualitative interviews. In the survey, the ath— letes were asked about their experiences of sexual harassment outside, as well as inside, sport. The athletes actually experienced less sexual harassment overall from inside (28 per cent) than from outside sport (39 per cent). Overall, 51 per cent of respondents reported that they experienced sexual harassment, from both within and outside sport, mainly from men. ‘Ridicule’ was the most common form of harassment from other athletes and ‘unwanted touching’ from authority figures. The fact that ridicule was experienced by so many female athletes in this study, both by peers in sport and people outside sport, is of great concern. Holman ( 1994; 1995) also found evidence of more harassment from peer athletes than from coaches in her Canadian study and Crosset et al. (1995) found that male American student-athletes were over-represented in sexual assaults on campus in comparison with their non-athletic peers. Robinson’s account of abuses in Canadian ice hockey also illustrate vividly that there is a high tolerance for sexual bullying in sport by peer athletes (Robinson 1998). According to the Norwegian results, males were over—represented in all categories of sexual harasser (authority figures in sport, peers in sport and others from outside sport). It seems that, in spite of the many positive strides towards gender equity in recent years, both in sport and in society at large, female elite athletes still may not be totally accepted by society or even by their male athlete peers. Among the oldest participants in the Norwegian study (over 23 years), the con- trol group had experienced more sexual harassment than the athletes. One possible explanation for this finding may be that, as they grow older, elite athletes become more adept at protecting themselves and are thereby able to avoid potential harass- ment situations. Conversely, it may be that the athletes become more habituated to sexual harassment in their sports and thus less likely to name or report it. In these circumstances, sexual harassment becomes the price for reaching elite athlete status. Striking, yet counter-intuitive findings from the Norwegian data, were that ath- letes who participated in ‘masculine’ sports had more often experienced sexual harassment (59 per cent) than participants in ‘feminine’ (50 per cent) or ‘gender— neutral’ (46 per cent) sports, and that female athletes in Sports with the most clothing cover experienced the most ridicule. Clearly, a great deal more work needs to be done on this issue before any confidence can be based in claims about 260 C. Brackenridge ‘risky sports’ but these data point towards some explanations of sexual exploita- tion. One is that such sports are also associated with the masculine heritage and male dominance in sport: women playing previously male-only or overtly mascu- line sports represent a threat to that dominant status and also provoke homophoblc prejudice. Sadly, despite the advances made in women’s sport over the past two decades, the notion of ‘gender appropriateness’ (Metheny 1963; Lenskyj 1986) appears to be alive and well in sport. Perhaps the most worrying finding from the Norwegian study was that significantly more of the female athletes had experi- enced sexual harassment from an authority figure in sport (15 per cent), such as coaches, instructors, managers and so on, than the controls had done from supervi— sors or teachers in the workplace (9 per cent). This indicates that authority figures in sport may exhibit behaviour towards athletes that is not tolerated or accepted in workplaces or educational institutions. It is no surprise that those countries most associated with liberal social policy, fair play and gender equity have done the most research into this subject. Given the findings from Norway, one of the lead- ing nations in working for gender equity, the situation in other countries 15 likely to give much greater cause for concern. This, then, is the picture of sexual violence to women in sport as far as we know it on the basis of current research. Of course we cannot say for certain whether the situation has become better or worse over time since no previous, baselines studies of sexual harassment and abuse in sport have been conducted. The conditions and consequences of late modernity . . . it is partly men’s insecurity about their masculinity that promotes abusive behaviour toward women. (Heise in Lancaster and di Leonardo (1997: 425)) As constructions of sexuality in late modernity fragment along with other for- mer certainties, men’s sport is faced with a particular challenge. It is founded on the modern ideologies of social structures rooted in fixed (male) authority. If not completely irrelevant, we are certainly struggling to find relevance for these ideologies today. According to Messner and Sabo (1990: 9) Sport . . . is an institution created by and for men . . . it has served to bolster a sagging ideology of male superiority and has thus helped to reconstitute masculine hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries. Unlike many other major cultural forms, such as music, theatre or literature, in sport heterosexuality is an ‘organizing principle’ (Kolnes 1995.). Sex segrega- tion is embedded in the constitutive systems of sport and 1n the 1deolog1cal and cultural domination enjoyed by heterosexual men. Adherence to the process of man-making through sport is still one of the most pervasive features of contempo- rary western culture. Messner and others have noted that sexuality and gender have been differently constructed for women and for men, with sports for men being Men loving men hating women 261 consonant with masculinity and heterosexuality but sports for women being disso- nant with both femininity and heterosexuality. This has been extensively reported as the ‘apologetic’ (Felshin 1974), whereby females have to ‘justify’ the threat to their (hetero)sexual identity posed by their participation in sport. They do this by adopting overtly feminine clothing, jewellery or other trappings of traditional heterosexuality. In other words, stereotypical notions of masculine and feminine are also expected to align along the gender divide. More recently, queer theorists have examined the false binaries that characterize sport ideology, the male—female, gay-straight, win-loss relations of sporting practice. In sport, traditional heterosexual masculinity is made and re-made through the convergence of the physical and the cultural. But in order to preserve its ideological and political dominance heterosexual men’s sport has gone to enormous lengths to exclude women (and gay men), to vilify them and to undermine their own sporting aspirations. Control of women’s public sexuality extends to definitions of acceptable dress, hairstyles, make up and type of sport. In private, women’s sexual development is controlled through use of the contraceptive pill, restrictive diets and sanctioned social lives. Personal ridicule experienced by female athletes is reinforced by powerful cultural messages and structural exclusions of women from the bases of power in sport. This does not happen to all female athletes or in all sport organizations, of course, but the overall effect impinges on the experiences of all female athletes. As in other all-male institutions, in the homosocial world of men’s sport there is lack of empathy with women, lack of concern for intimacy with women and lack of respect for women (Curry 1991, 1998). There is often also conflicted sexuality, whereby men used their masculinity as a commodity in exchange relations with other men. One explanation for this behaviour is» that it ensures the male (sport) group will look after the man who is insecure about his sexuality. Such individuals, however, have to ‘pass’ as straight at all costs to ensure their continued acceptance into the hyper masculine sub—world of their sport. In his research into amateur bodybuilders, Alan Klein (1990) found that many were male prostitutes who identified themselves as straight but did not have straight sex for years. Klein describes male athletes as the ‘gatekeepers of masculinity’ (1990: 132). He quotes one American Football star who came out as gay and said . . . how could any man come through [the NFL] as purely heterosexual after spending so much time idealizing and worshipping the male body, while denigrating and ridiculing the female. (Kopay and Young 1997, cited in Klein 1990: I32) . . . and Robinson quotes Malszecki (1998: 89) who said: ‘The role of women is to nourish the man emotionally so he can withstand the dysfunctional relationship he has with men.’ ~ The ability to inflict and to tolerate pain is another mechanism of male sport that renders inferior/feminine anyone unable or unwilling to comply with these norms. This establishes yet further social distance between heterosexual males in 262 C. Brackenridge sport and ‘others’. This hyper masculine, heterosexual culture of sport, with its sexually intense initiation rituals, excessive use of alcohol and demeaning attitudes towards women, can remove inhibitions for sexual abuse and assault, both by males to females (singly or in groups) and by males to other males (Benedrct 1997; Robinson 1998). . Peer support for sexual assault and rape is an important influence on actual behaviour, especially in social settings described above, where alcohol is freely consumed, and where males attempt to overcome their fears about expressing intr- macy. In many sports, the associated ‘social life’ is a major attraction to participants and a central part of the overall sporting experience. Robinson (1998) described numerous cases of sexual degradation, assault and rape in social settings by Canadian male ice hockey players. In the rape culture of the [ice] hockey locker room, . . . females are referred to as ‘ rou ies’, ‘ uck bunnies', ‘pucks’ and ‘dirties’ among the players . . . g p p (Robinson 1998: 5) The theory of masculine crisis Mariah Burton Nelson‘s book The Stranger Women Get, The More Men Love Football (1994) depicts vividly the retreat into hyper masculine sport that has been provoked by women’s incursion into sport and other areas of public life. Football, in all its formulations but archetypally in the American code, combines being male with sanctioned violence (Benedict 1997). Together, these ingredients develop cultural domination by males and cultural inferiority ‘in females. The greater the crisis for traditional heterosexual masculinrty, then, the greater the violent response to women in sport. Thus, violence by men to women in sport is, simultaneously, a method by which to maintain power and a celebration of the making and re—making of threatened masculinity. One female surv1vor of sexual abuse in sport said: . . . the men in power know very well that this is going on, often they’ve done it themselves . . . They are sitting there married to women who they had coached themselves . . . they’re collaborating in the whole process rather than stopping it . . . even the most ethical men often vicariously enjoy the sexual dalhances of other men . . . there’s something about knowing that this is going on that they get off on it, they appreciate, so they will deliberately look the other way. That sport is a prime site for the (re)production of heterosexual masculinity has been persuasively argued by many eminent feminists and pro-feminists in recent years (Lenskyj 1992; Hall 1996; Messner 1992, 1996; Messner and Sabo 1994). These arguments are used to examine how men legitimize sexually explortative practices in sport as part of the heterosexual masculine identity (re)formatron process. i? g, gill , 3}, Men loving men hating women 263 Liz Kelly (1988) has argued that the purpose of sexual violence to women is control, not sex, and that institutionalized surveillance of women’s sexuality is legitimized in western patriarchy. The heterosexual imperative ensures that, even in the absence of men, women in sport are under constant surveillance so that their conformity to social expectations may be monitored. Dress, language, gestures and interpersonal behaviour are all, therefore, subordinated and socially controlled unless women choose to resist actively. Since men control the financial and political infrastructure of sport, however, the price of overt or sustained resistance by women may be loss of access to competitive opportunities, funds or facilities. One parent reported her daughter’s experience of sexual harassment by a coach to me as follows: . . . [she] decided that she would never be left alone with him again . . . she attended one more [practice] and was dropped . . .The [governing body] closed ranks to support him . . . They said they’d investigated and there was no case to answer. He carried on coaching with a female chaperone. As if to underline their alliance with dominant heterosexual masculine culture, some sport sub—worlds foster exaggerated sexualization through, for example, allowing violent or degrading ‘hazing’ (initiation) rituals (Robinson 1998) and illegal drinking in a sexist and/or homophobic atmosphere (Curry 1998). In these conditions, young athletes are likely to be most at risk of abuse by their athlete peers and leaders (Crosser et al. 1995). The excesses of male locker room culture have been well documented (Messner and Sabo 1990; Cuny 1991; Messner 1992), underpinned by Heam’s pioneering analysis of organization sexuality (Hearn et al. 1989). In such a climate, interpersonal boundaries are all—too-easily eroded and personal and sexual liberties taken by sexual aggressors. The motivation for such sexual abuses is not sexual gratification but the achieve- ment of power through the humiliation of others. Humiliation plays an important part in obedience training and may be manifested through physical, sexual or psychological denigration. Such controlling behaviour is frequently legitimated within sport where the superior knowledge of the coach is deemed to give him licence to require complete obedience from the athlete, whether male or female. Whereas sport sociology has paid close attention to men’s violences to men in respect of on—field brutality, injury, ‘deviance’, off-field brawling and spectator/fan ‘hooliganism’ (Young 1991; Dunning 1999) it has paid relatively little attention to men’s violences towards women. Use of language to demean and control men, for example the naming of male athletes as female (’pussy’, ‘wimp’, ‘big girl’s blouse’, ‘limp—wristed’, ‘sisters’) affirms the importance of heterosexual masculinity and its opposition to femininity (Curry 1991; 1998). It also confirms male athletes’ lack of respect for women, which is a precursor to sexual exploitation. The family-like social system of the sports club is often mentioned by athlete survivors of sexual harassment and abuse as nurturing yet also controlling. Unless challenged, the sports club can become a dysfunctional, surrogate family system in which the hetero-patriarchal authority of the coach is used to render all others 264 C. Brackenridge (women, children, gay men) powerless. Faced with a sexually exploitative author- ity figure the athlete has an impossible choice. If she speaks out her integrity remains in tact but her survival in elite competitive sport is hazarded. If she allows the abuse to continue without reporting it, her personal and sexual integrity is violated but her performance in sport might be salvaged. Where she is emotion- ally attached to the authority figure, then, she may rationalize sexual contact as a reciprocal sign of affection. Just as competitive fitness in sport must be constantly maintained, the borders between female (and gay male) resistance and heterosexual male control are con— stantly in flux, being negotiated and re-negotiated through advance and retreat. Pressure for women to have equal membership rights in sports clubs, the abolition of the so-called gender verification test (supposed to identify males masquerading as females), and quotas for women’s representation in major sporting organi- zations, are all examples of threats to traditional male supremacy in sport. Sex discrimination and sexual harassment in sport are expressions of men’s concerns about loss of power; sexual abuses are their most extreme attempts to (re)gain that power. Lots of coaches who are now very successful started with the women’s team . . . [the women] had potentially good coaches, who were successful, but [the coaches] had a very poor opinion of [them] . . . it’s just [that] a coach has much more respect when he’s dealing with a men’s team. (Female survivor of sexual harassment in sport) As women press their claims for sexual equality in the workplace and gain increasing prominence in public life, so they are either ‘rendered invisible’ or more publicly sexualized and eroticized, for example through pornography (Burton Nelson 1994). Catherine McKinnon calls this the ‘eroticization of dominance’ (cited in Heam 1998: 7) that links sexuality to violence: it underpins both sexual abuses that appear not to be violent and physical abuses that appear not to be sexual. Sexual violence in sport arises from a combination of both personal and cultural factors. It is allowed to blight sport because of a general systems failure in which ‘collective blindness’ (Smith 1995) to the issue is compounded by lack of knowl- edge and lack of political will for change. Since sport reflects its wider social context, however, these conditions are culturally endemic in Western capitalist societies and not special to the institution of sport. Human rights, human wrongs. . . transforming violent gender relations in sport In order to eradicate all forms of gendered violence in sport, sport organiza- tions need to move beyond liberal gender equity policies and to embed practical anti-harassment and ethics principles in their work. This requires complete con— stitutional overhaul and cultural change in the major sport organizations if women : Men loving men hating women 265 and gay men are ever to assume their human rights. Educational programmes that address coaching styles, personal relationships, language and behaviour in sport are important (and cost effective) mechanisms for change but, on their own, they will not bring about sustainable improvements in the organizational culture of sport. Systemic problems require systemic solutions. So, in addition to the work on personal attitudes and interpersonal behaviour, we need to look at macro-level initiatives, both structural and cultural. Structural initiatives include constitutional change to give wider representation to women at all levels and in all roles in sport, especially in visible leadership positions within sport organizations. By this I do not mean token numbers, like those currently identified in the IOC’s targets for women, but the critical mass of 40 per cent minimum that is required by, for example, the Swedish public committee system. Policies and procedures in sport organizations also need to be brought into line with international and national statutes for equal rights and human rights, such that women, sexual minorities and children are also fully represented. Monitoring and evaluation of policies for improved human rights is essential. Structural levers are available to the governing bodies of world sport, such as the giving or withholding of grants, the awarding or not of competition venues, and the banning of non-compliant states or organizations. Cultural initiatives include active resistance to pornographic and infantilising imagery of females in sport, so commonly seen in the media. There also needs to be open discussion about sexual issues, including sexual exploitation of women, gay men and children in sport. Athlete empowerment is also needed, extending beyond simply having a voice in selection or a right to resist sexual coercion, to a full opportunity to influence decision—making throughout every sport. Whether there is the political will to implement such initiatives is debatable, since most of the major sport organizations are run by self-selecting (male) oligarchies who are reluctant to give up their power. Conclusions Sexual access to women and girls comprises many processes through which males define females as sexually available. In sport, which arguably suffers from a cultural time lag in comparison with other social institutions, this access is still legitimized through the dominant ideology of heterosexuality as ‘nonnal’ (sexual practice) and male sexuality as ‘natural’ (biologically driven). The hierarchical gender-power relations which characterize the social institution of sport, and by which women’s sport, historically, has been systematically belittled, excluded, undermined or ignored, are now under severe threat from the disrupting forces of late modernity. As traditional social categories fracture and diversify, so the certainties of sport as a site of heterosexual masculine identity formation are chal- lenged. This has led to a gender backlash within sport as men struggle to come to terms with women’s emerging power in the executive suite, the gym and the stadium. 266 C. Brackenridge Notes 1 All quotations from personal interviews are anonymized. . ‘ ‘ 2 The project was part of a much larger study of the medical issues of the temale athlete triad’ (eating disorders, menstrual irregularin and osteoporosis), carried out for the Norwegian Olympic Committee. Acknowledgement Thanks to Kari Fasting for her research collaboration. References Benedict, J. (1997) Public Heroes, Private Felons. Athletes and Crimes Against Women, Boston: Northwestern University Press. Brackenridge, C. H. (1997) “‘He owned me basically”: Women’s experience of sexual abuse in sport’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport 32(2): 115—30. ‘ Brackenridge, C. H. and Kirby, S. (1997) ‘Playing safe? Assessing the r1sk of sexual abuse to young elite athletes’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport 32(4): 407—18. Burton Nelson, M. (1994) The Stranger Women Get, the More Men Love Football: Sexism and the American Culture of Sports, New York: Harcourt Brace. 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