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Taking the Field

Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports

Michael A. Messner
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Taking the Field
    Book Description:

    Michael Messner argues that despite profound changes, the world of sport largely retains and continues its longtime conservative role in gender relations. Sport and Culture Series, volume 4 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Outstanding Book Award winner

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9078-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Jumping Center
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal shakes hands with his opponent, Philadelphia 76er Dikembe Mutombo, before the opening center jump. The referee who will toss the ball up is dwarfed by the two centers, both over seven feet tall. The capacity Staples Center crowd roars and stomps with the exciting NBA championship series game moments away from starting. The camera zooms to a close-up of O’Neal’s already sweating face, then pulls back to reveal the other nine players, who have taken up their positions for the center jump. When the referee tosses up the ball, O’Neal and Mutombo lift their...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Center Snap: Children Creating the Fiction of Gender
    (pp. 1-26)

    “Men are from Mars,” my six-year-old son announced to me, out of the blue, “and women are from Venus.” “What’s that mean?” I asked him. “Well, I guess it means that men and women are from different planets.” “Where did you hear that?” I asked him. “Oh, it was on a TV commercial: ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and children are from heaven.’” I took it as good news that my son could not recall what product they were trying to sell him with this enlightened message, but I also took it as just another bit of...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Playing Center: The Triad of Violence in Men’s Sports
    (pp. 27-62)

    In November 2000, newspapers reported that six high school football players in Yucca Valley, California, had been arrested on felony charges of false imprisonment, sexual battery, rape with a foreign object, and conspiracy. The crimes were allegedly perpetrated during a hazing ritual, when senior members of the football team “initiated” freshmen and sophomore members of the team.¹ These days, we seem to hear story after story describing male athletes’ violent acts of ritualized hazing on athletic teams, acquaintance and gang rapes perpetrated against women, and verbal and physical abuse of girlfriends and spouses.² Statements of shock and surprise routinely follow...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Center of the Diamond: The Institutional Core of Sport
    (pp. 63-90)

    Joanie Smith wanted to play softball.¹ She and her friends and teammates in the West Valley Girls’ Softball League in Los Angeles had grown up with the benefits of Title IX. They assumed that if they wanted to play sports, they had the right to. But here it was 1998, and they were told that there was nowhere for them to play. It made no sense to them: there were obviously acres and acres of grassy green baseball and softball fields in their neighborhood parks. But when they and their parents tried to get access to these fields for the...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Center of Attention: The Gender of Sports Media
    (pp. 91-134)

    More than ninety thousand fans at the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California, were on their feet cheering. Millions more were enjoying the dramatic moment in front of their television sets. It was July 10, 1999, and soccer star Brandi Chastain had just blasted the game-winning kick past the Chinese goalie. The U.S. team had won the World Cup, culminating several weeks of intense excitement that included print and electronic media saturation, the extent of which was unprecedented in the history of U.S. women’s sports. The day after the championship match, a newspaper reporter called me and asked, “Do you think...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Contesting the Center: Just Do What?
    (pp. 135-166)

    In the early 1970s, Virginia Slims became one of the first major corporations to sponsor professional women’s sports with its support of women’s professional tennis. The tobacco company pitched its anorexically skinny cigarette to women with a slogan appropriated from the second wave of feminism: You’ve come a long way, baby!¹ Since then, girls’ and women’s athletic participation has soared. And during that same stretch of time, women also narrowed the smoking and lung cancer gaps between themselves and men.²

    In the 1990s, Nike implored and encouraged girls and women to “Just Do It” in sports, just like the men....

  11. Notes
    (pp. 167-208)
  12. References
    (pp. 209-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-239)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 240-240)