Machismo and the Modern Sporting Culture

abs_exampleIt’s no secret that the modern sports culture is obsessed with machismo. The modern sports culture is a place where toxic masculinity is on full display. Toxic masculinity defines the male gender role as that of someone who is violent and unemotional. Sports don’t have to celebrate violence. They don’t have to celebrate stoicism and immunity to pain, or a feigned immunity to pain. They don’t even have to celebrate strength, since a good portion of sport relies more on lean athleticism than actual physical strength. However, that isn’t the way modern sports turned out.

As a result, modern sports can present a hostile environment for gay people and for all women. The stereotypical man obsessed with sports insults people by calling them ‘gay’ or by calling them ‘women,’ which indicates the level of regard that he has for both gay people and women. Sportswriters will parade their misogyny around all the time in their writings and in their interviews. Men in this culture perform their masculinity by watching and consuming sports, and you get the impression that sports would hold no interest at all for many of them otherwise, just like few people would be interested in the Olympics if the ceremony was not such a showcase for nationalism.

However, this situation is starting to change as LGBT people become more accepted by society in general. Even the most macho men in this culture are starting to accept that they can’t get away with being hostile towards gay people, and others are becoming genuinely accepting of them. They might still gender-police men for not being ‘man’ enough, whatever that means, but they might let it go when the man in question is actually gay. It’s a weird mix of ideologies that don’t add up, but it is the exact situation that you would expect from a society that is still at the crossroads when it comes to gay rights and the mainstreaming of gay people.