Name: Emma HoweStudent Number: N6873278Tutor: Katie PageTime: Friday 11am - 12pm


Undies Par...from left Kristie Newton, Sarah Kemp and Tamara Beckett

"Women never have and ever can unite to push any scheme to success. They are bound to fall out and quarrel on the smallest or no provocation; they are built that way! They will never go through a Ladies' Championship with credit. Tears will bedew if wigs do not bestrew the green. Constitutionally and physically women are unfit for golf. They will never last through two round of a long course on a hot day... Temperamentally the strain will be too great...THE FIRST LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE THE LAST" (Hutchinson, 1893)

This image was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 6th of December, 2006 in an article titled “Women lose their clothes and gain a whole new audience”. It presents 3 of Australia’s top female golfers who posed for a sports calendar titled ‘Top Shots: Women of Professional Golf’. In the first panel the female golfer is captured in a lounge room in a black and gold swimsuit, golf shoes and golf gloves. The interior of her lounge room appears to match her costume. She is holding a bag of golf clubs in between her legs. In the second image a female golfer is standing in front of a fountain in a pink golf skirt and pink golf shoes. She is not wearing a top. A cardigan covers her nipples. In the last image the female golfer is kneeling on the green of a golf course. She is in pink underpants and pink golf shoes and is holding an umbrella. Multiple golf balls are scattered around her.

This media artefact demonstrates a clear and concise representation of women in sport. Sport magazines, newspapers and television advertisements present women in sport as sexualised objects (Garrett, 2004) and elite female sporting athletes feel they have to sell their bodies in order to gain funding for their sport. This is detrimental to women’s health as it may result in increase in mental health risks (such as anxiety depression and eating disorders) as women feel the pressures of trying to achieve the image that the media portrays to society of how sporting women should look like. Furthermore, the association of sport and masculine characteristics can be detrimental to females participating in sport as they may feel discriminated against as occupying these undesirable male characteristics. Lastly, researchers have found that females may be more susceptible to domestic violence (Welder, 2008). This is due to the traditional characteristics of males created through sport where society believes men are more powerful, stronger, and faster than women.

Traditionally sport and physical activity has been associated with masculinity and hegemony (Houlihan, 2008). Women’s participation in sport was opposed due to medical, aesthetic, and social reasons. The 2006 General Social Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that participation levels of women in sport have increased to male participation levels (66% respectively). However, of the women who participated in physical activity, 54% were participating in non competitive sports compared to 26% participating in competitive sports. This could be due to the distinction between sport and physical activity where sport has previously been linked with masculine characteristics such as competitiveness, aggression and power, and physical activity is linked to the health and mental benefits of participation in exercise.

In today’s society women’s participation levels in physical activity has increased however the underlying discourses surrounding physical activity and sport are still prevalent. Women still face challenges in funding and support for many ‘male typical’ sports and the media continuously misrepresents the female image within sport (Garrett, 2004). Furthermore, the participation levels of females in sport compared to men indicate that women still feel the pressure to occupy the traditional ideology’s that surround women and sport. Sport is a powerful mechanism that divides society into groups that promote white above black, male above female, physical prowess above alternative qualities and body types above others (Kay & Jeans, 2007). Also sport provides a basis where gender identities are constructed and society associates sport participation with masculinity. These social constructs needs to be addressed to ensure equality in society for both men and women participating in sport and physical activity. Garrett (2004) reported that females feel inadequate, have a fear of failing and a fear of being judged on the basis of their body and their skills when participating in physical activity. These feelings may lead to inactivity thus proving an important public health concern as physical inactivity may lead to adverse health effects such as an increase in chronic diseases like osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and obesity (ABS, 2009).Sport has also been associated with creating negative body image constructs through the media and their representation of women in sport. This may lead to mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders (Western, 2009).


The current research surrounding women’s sport focuses on body image constructs, gender inequalities and the role that the media plays influencing theses ideologies. The history of women’s involvement in sport indicates that women were excluded from equitable access to sporting facilities and experiences. In the 1840’s, muscular Christianity or sport as it is now known, was established. It was centered on the values of the Christian man and was used to highlight and celebrate the association between physical strength and resiliency, religious certainty and successful struggles against the odds (Kingsley, 1982). Sport was about learning to be male and cultural differences ensured male hegemony over sport. During the Victorian Era womens participation in sport was nonexistent. The medical field warned women against strenuous exercise as it was thought exercise caused stress on the body and that this may take away the much needed energy required for pregnancy and birth. Conventional practices also governed women’s participation in sport as it ensured that they stayed at home and looked after the family.

Currently in Australia, female participation in physical activity is equal to male participation rates (ABS, 2006). However, there still appears to be a substantial difference between the numbers of females participating in sport compared to men. Society has undergone immense change overtime and the traditional medical and conventional reasons behind women not participating in sport have been abolished as there is a clear presence of females participating in physical activity. Current researchers are concerned with the underrepresentation of women’s sport in the media. Data from Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) reveals that the coverage of women’s sport makes up 9 per cent of all sports coverage in Australian television news and current affairs while male sport makes up 81 per cent. It is thought that this under representation of women in sport is due to gender differentiation in social relations. Lensky (1998) reported that women lack power, resources, autonomy and sense of self that males possess. The paper concluded that this imbalance is a product of the gender relations between the sexes and strongly influences the sexes differing experiences of sport.

Garret (2004) reported his belief there is an entrenched sexism that underpins the lack of balance in coverage of women’s sport. Australian women’s sport has demonstrated magnificent results from high-achieving teams and individuals. Examples of female sporting teams that have achieved great results are The Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos. They have frequently dominated international competitions, winning Olympic gold and international championships on many occasions. Furthermore, The Australian women’s netball team has won eight of the eleven world championships. It is evident that Australian women achieve great results in sport so it is confusing as to why these results are not widely reported in the media.

Phillips and colleagues (1999) reported that they believe the lack of representation of women in sport is due to the biological differences between men and women. Men are thought to be bigger, faster and stronger than women. Men are and always will be thought of as the dominant figure and women are continuously represented by the media as weak, fragile and in sexualized positions. In essence these images convey the idea that women are not true athletes in comparison to men. The demeaning thoughts surrounding women in sport are embedded in the minds of society. This is evident in male dominated sport across the world where men appear to have more sponsorship, funding and media coverage than women (Phillip, 1999).

Gender constructs also influence the types of sports that women participate in. The ABS (2006) stated that sports like netball, tennis and gymnastics were more readily occupied by females compared to sports such as rugby, cricket and soccer. This indicates that women participate in those sports that conform to conventional notions of femininity and not masculinity. Interestingly the areas of greatest growth of participation (i.e fitness and exercise activities such as walking, running and aerobics) are those that can be used as a mechanism to achieve the ‘ideal’ femininity. A large amount of women participate in physical activity in order to get thinner and more attractive (Garrett, 2004). This enables them to fulfill the female body mould that society has constructed for them in order for them to feel accepted.

Dworkin and Messner (1999) believe that ‘besides making money, making gender may be sport’s chief function’ (p.342). The masculine constructs surrounding sport marginalize women and the opportunities that are available to them. The ABS (2009) reported that more males (59.1%) than females (40.9%) are employed in sport and physical recreation occupations. The Australian Sporting Commission (2010) found that of those women who occupy sporting employment roles, typical jobs were scorer/time keeper roles or medical support officers. This is contrasting to the male typical roles of coach, instructor or referee. These statistics releval that men dominant the 'powerful' employment roles in areas of sports provision. Garrett (2004) thought that the segmentation of women and men in sporting imployment aids in creating the masculine ethos that pervades modern sport. Although women's participation rates in sport have markedly increased from the Victorian Era the main issues surrounding sport today are women's misrepresentation in sport and the lack of funds and resources for women to enable them to occupy roles in the sporting environment. The Australian Government has created initiatives that aim in aiding women's sports involvement, such as The Women in Sport Leadership Register (2002), however the simple legacy is that gender inequalities are still inherent in sports structures today.


Feminist analysis of women’s role in sport aims to clarify why there are differring representations of women and men in sport. Marxist feminism attmepts to explain how gender inequalities derive from capitalism, class and economic explotation (Houilham, 2008). Research conducted by Marxist feminist traditions maintain that men control the means of production and are also likely to control systems that create dominant ideologies and maintain them (Coakley, 2007). Using this approach, researchers in the Marxist feminist tradition have underlined how women have less finacial capacity to engage in sport due to being lower earners. Women often have less time to participate in sport due to domestic and family requirements which are considered a 'woman's responsibility' (Coakley, 2007).

Marxist feminist theories fail to explain the differing experiences that women have pertaining to sports participation and furthermore the recent increase in women's sports participation. Connell (2005) surveyed group of elite female athletes who participated in male gender dominate sports, such as football and golf, and found that a large number of the female athletes stated that they enjoyed the competitive, aggressive nature that surrounded their sport involvement. In contrast to the Marxist approach, post-structural feminism suggests that not all women are the same and that it is possible for women to have multiple experiences within sport (Houliham, 2008). The results found by Connell (2005) can be explained using post-structural feminism in stating that women may be aggressive and competitive within sport and challenge gender order but also be concerned with appearance and body shape away from it. This approach indicates why there has not been a complete transformation of dominate gender ideologies within society today. However, increasing participation rates can enable the female athletes to challenge traditional gender ideologies.

Furthermore, Foucault (1980), a famous post-structural feminist, challenges the dichotomy of masculinity and femininity and argues that multiple femininities exist (Houliham, 2008). The above literature suggests that women are still subject to gender inequalities surrounding participation in sport (Phillips et. al 1999 & Garrett 2004) however there has been an increase in participation rates throughout time (ABS, 2009). Foucault (1980) would further encourage women's participation in sport as he believes that this participation will enable women to transgress gender expectations and deconstruct gender ideologies. The comparision of participation rates of females in sport from the Victorian Era to the Twenty-First Century suggests that the increasing participation rates may have lead to the weakening of feminine constructs in society today, whereby an increasing number of females occupy higher employment statuses and are not confined to the typical 'stay at home' mum roles.


Upon researching this topic and reviewing my artefact I was saddened to find that women in sport feel compelled to strip off their clothes and sexualise their exsistence in order to attain monetary fund’s and media coverage. I have discussed this topic with an array people and students. It is of a surprising opinion that people feel that women have bought the sexualised image of females participating in sport upon themselves. Social media sites, such as twitter and facebook, have had people report that if women did not strip off their clothes then there would not be sexual discrimination and objectification between the genders. Sport is a particularly contentious issue. As it stands men are more biologically equipped to succeed at a higher level in the majority of sporting domains (Houlihan, 2008). The literature outlines that women are marginalised in sport and they are subject to gender inequalities that are enhanced by hegemonic masculinity. It is unknown as to whether these inequalities will be subject to immense change overtime, wherby women will be equal to men in the domains of the sporting arena.

Women continue to be subject to sexual discrimination, media objectification and gender inequalities. This has occured throughout the ages of time. The Australian Government has tried to put in place initiatives that aim in breaking down the barriers that women face. However, the playing field for women in sport will never be equitable as sport is based around the biological differences between humans. The more biological enhanced you are the more success, power and strength you attain (Lenskjy, 1998). It is clear that women are not as biologically fit to compete in sports at the same level as men. The extent to which equality between the genders in sport is approached is left to the ever changing realms of society. It is unknown as to what new constructs and ideologies women in sport will face in the near future.

Page: Doctor-Patient Relationships: Are We From Different PlanetsTitle: Great Wiki
Comments: I really enjoyed reading this Wiki! It really brings to light the differences amongst cultures and how in the health care profession we must be extremely aware of cross cultural beliefs. I absolutely love the artifact. It presents a patient looking up at a doctor who appears to be an alien. Sometimes when we deal with doctors and people in the healthcare profession we do feel like they are aliens as they talk in a different language, using big words, and can sometimes treat us as if we do not know what they are talking about. This artefact really emphasises the cross cultural differences among society. I can see how relevant this issue is in Australia as we live in a multicultural society where doctors need to ensure that they are sensitive to peoples feelings, beliefs and religious practices. I now understand how important it is to gain a patients full history, including key beliefs and past treatments as this can have an immense affect on the treatment which will be administered to the client.

Page: I want an iPhone! Individualism, Consumerism, Technology and Gen Y's Mental Health.

Title: Scarey Thoughts

Comments: After reading this fantastic wiki I found myself thinking scarey thoughts pertaining to younger generations that will be coming through in this world of progressing technology. It is clear from this artefact that mental health disorders and anti social behaviours are advid in our society today. Is this due to the increasing rise in technology? We definately are a generation that has recieved everything we have wanted and when we have wanted it. On the weekend I baby sat my youngest nephew (2 years old). I was doing some assessment on my laptop and was horrified to find him sitting up on the couch playing with my iphone. I went over to see what he was doing. He had downloaded a 12 dollar application on my phone at which he was proceeding to try to push the screen and play the game. I took it from him immediately. He then started to cry and told me I was the worst Aunty.. great huh! My first thought was how the hell does my 2 year old nephew know how to unlock an iphone? The second thought I had after reading this article is what social and health ramifications will this heightened dependance on technology have on the younger generations as they grow up? I can't imagine this high of a reliance on technology can be a good thing.
It scares me!


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