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Sports become stereotyped as gender-neutral, feminine, or masculine based on conceptions regarding gender, gender differences, and beliefs about the appropriateness of participation due to gender (Colley et al., 1987; Csizma, Wittig, & Schurr, 1988; Koivula, 1995; Matteo, 1986). Sports labeled as feminine seem to be those that allow women participants to act in accordance with the stereotyped expectations of femininity (such as being graceful and nonagressive) and that provide for beauty and aesthetic pleasure (based on largely male standards). A sport is labeled as masculine if it involves the following: 1) attempts to physically overpower the opponent(s) by bodily contact; 2) a direct use of bodily force to a heavy object; 3) a projection of the body into or through space over distance; and 4) face-to-face competition in situations in which bodily contact may occur. These characteristics are believed to be appropriate expressions of masculine attributes such as aggressiveness, effectiveness, and power (Metheny, 1965; Koivula, 2001).
In a recent study, 403 participants were firs…