Today, in a world quite different from the one that existed just thirty years ago, both girls and boys play soccer, baseball, softball, and other youth sports. Yet has the dramatic surge in participation by girls contributed to greater gender equality? In this engaging study, leading sociologist Michael A. Messner probes the richly complex gender dynamics of youth sports. Weaving together vivid first-person interviews with his own experiences as a volunteer for his sons' teams, Messner finds that despite the movement of girls into sports, gender boundaries and hierarchies still dominate, especially among the adults who run youth sports. His book widens into a provocative exploration of why youth sports matter—how they play a profound role in shaping gender, class, family, and community.
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