This is a guest post by Jessica Krawczynski, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.
I interviewed Krawczyk about the ways in which female coaches have been marginalized within sports for centuries, how women have struggled to gain visibility and what it means to be a woman in the 21st century.
The SportBIe is produced by The Society for Humanistic Anthropology.
The SportBIE is an audio-only podcast hosted by Professor Jessica KRAWCZYNSKI, with contributions by Dr. Jessica WOOD, and guests that include:Mimi CASTLE: How does the history of women’s basketball and the way that the game is perceived affect how we think about female coaches today?
Jessica KAWNICK: A lot of women have the expectation that they’ll be respected in the sports world, and they’re expected to do things that they wouldn’t do as a man.
For instance, they have to keep their mouths shut.
You know, they’re not allowed to talk about their emotions.
And they have all kinds of stereotypes about women in sports.
I’ve interviewed a lot of coaches, and most of them have told me that they don’t want to talk to anyone outside their organization about what they do, because it’s a way of keeping their identity separate from their work.
They just want to be themselves.
So I think the fact that it’s not so much that they’re shy, but that it feels like they’re getting more respect, it’s like a natural extension of that.
That’s what it’s about.
When we talk about female athletes and their roles in sports, we don’t think of them as women.
We think of men as athletes.
So we’re not really looking at the women that are out there.
They’re just women that we know.
It’s about what it takes to do the job.
That, I think, is part of what makes them feel so valued.
Mimi: How do you think the idea of “gender” can change?
I mean, there’s so much of a double standard around women.
What do you make of that?
What’s the definition of gender?
And why don’t you think it’s possible for someone to be both male and female at the same time?JK: It’s a complicated question.
And the answer is that I think it varies from person to person.
But I think that it has to do with how we define ourselves.
And that’s a very broad, broad definition.
I think a lot people think that women are born with male characteristics and are raised by men, or that women have a natural propensity for sports, or whatever.
I would argue that the majority of us are born and raised as female, and that it takes years of training, or maybe even years of life experience, for us to get into the game of women and become successful in the women’s game.
But at some point, we just have to take that first step.
And we’re definitely not at the stage of adulthood where we’re like, “Oh, I want to go out and play tennis, or go to college, or I want my kid to go to a fancy school.”
We’re just here to work hard, and we’re always going to have challenges.
But we’re going to get there.
It doesn’t matter if we’re born female or not.
If you take the first step, you’re at least at a point where you’re a bit more comfortable in your body.
So, for instance, if I was a female basketball player, I’m not going to want to get up in the morning and work on my body.
But, I’d probably be OK if I just started to get out and do things.
That way, I can still be competitive and have fun, and be successful, and feel good about myself.
I don’t have to look a certain way.
So there’s no problem there.
And it’s something that has to happen, because there’s nothing wrong with that.
But there’s also nothing wrong in being yourself, if you’re comfortable being yourself.
And if you can be yourself and your own person, you’ll be fine.
It just takes time.
If it happens at the beginning, it takes a little bit longer.
If that happens in your early 20s, that’s when you start to think about what’s next, because you’re not in the position of being the dominant person.
If I was playing in the NBA now, I might not want to come in and play basketball with the best players, because I might feel like I’m taking things for granted.
But the next step is really when you’re 18 or 19 and start playing in college, you start realizing that it can be more about you.
So maybe you want to play tennis and tennis is the only thing you’re interested in.
And then maybe