Assessment: Boyhood Organized Sports and the Construction of Masculinities

Pages: 2 (651 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper

Boyhood Messner

Messner's Examination of Non-Intimacy and Youth Sports

For young boys making their first forays into the world social interaction, sports can be a central vehicle to finding common ground with others. For boys who will feel increasing pressure as they more toward adolescence to reflect certain idealized qualities of masculinity, spectatorship and participation in organized sports can become a central forum for proving one's self, for aspiring to greater achievements and for fulfilling the expectations of those around one's self. However, the article by Messner (1990) argues that the emphasis on sports is also used to insulate boys for establishing more intimate and meaningful connections with others, reinforcing the socialized gender role by which men are ultimately expected to be competitive, strong and self-sufficient. The central thesis of Messner's article is that organized sports are used to reinforce expectations of what it means to be male both in terms of physical prowess and psychological isolation.

Main Points:

Messner makes the primary argument that organized sports are seen as something of a universal mode for personal growth among young men and that this perspective inherently projects certain views of what it means to be male. Indeed, popularity and early romantic entanglement may often be a function of one's prominence and physical capability on the field of sporting competition. For those who are excluded, either electively or by lack of ability, from such competition, the social consequences are palpable, Messner argues. The Messner text indicates that "there are millions of males who at an early age are rejected by, become alienated from, or lose interest in organized sports. Yet all boys are, to a greater or lesser extent, judged according to their ability, or lack of ability, in competitive sports." (Messner, p. 88)

This means that there is a certain sociological view which is taken toward those young boys who opt out of participation in sports or who find themselves incapable of competing at a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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