Interrogating Notions of Gender and Hegemonic Masculinity in Jamaica: The Case of the Woman Ballers! by Karen D. Madden

This paper examines the issue of gender and hegemonic masculinity through the lens of football in Jamaica. The paper seeks to interrogate notions of hegemony as it relates to gender and sports, particularly football. This notion translates to societal norms dictating what men and women could and should do. The result most times is that women, considered the weaker sex, are either prevented from engaging in some activity or their participation is policed or ridiculed by hegemonic forces.

Gender as a theory is socially constructed along social norms and practices and through biological factors. So the determination of what is appropriate for men and women is encoded by societal norms. The female’s physical form as well her social standing are normally at the centre of notions governing what is appropriate. Sport was one of the most significant avenues in which these ideas of the dominant group were spread. The dominant group being masculine would assert what games are gender appropriate. Women have competed under notions of being the “fairer” meaning weaker sex and have had to face interrogation regarding issues of stamina as well as conversations about how their biological make up will cope with the physical rigours of sport.

The paper questions why these notions and disparities exist on the football field. Is it that football is inappropriate for women, or are men intimidated by their presence on the field of play? Is the football site in Jamaica policed by notions of gender disparities and hegemonic masculinity?

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