By Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (auth.)
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Additional resources for Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry
8 Even if Title IX had been an unqualified success in the US, that alone would not guarantee its universality. Similarly, as I will argue in Chapter 6, Canadian sport feminists’ lobbying and legal efforts during 2006–9 to have women’s ski jump included in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics reflect yet another blind sport in white liberal feminism. The goal of “levelling the Olympic playing field,” which has its roots in the American and Canadian women’s movements, is not necessarily a high priority for women in developing countries, for women in other western countries or for Black, Indigenous, ethnic minority or workingclass women anywhere.
65 Eugenics, it seems, can be associated only with “other” countries. 1057/9781137291158 32 Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry Since the 1930s, extensive studies, largely unproductive and usually racist, have attempted to explain African Americans’ athletic successes. Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics, American physiologist Charles Snyder examined the correlation between Olympic victories and national populations. 67 Accounts of the alleged athletic superiority of Black men and women implied, and sometimes stated, that they were “primitive,” closer to the animal world, and intellectually inferior.
Hence, the myth persists that there are no gay men in real sports, that is, traditionally masculine sports where strength, endurance and aggression define success. 1057/9781137291158 26 Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry men protecting their sport territory from female “intruders” has a long history. The entry of female athletes demystifies and dilutes sport’s power to define what it takes to be a man. 47 Boys and men whose interests and talents lie in non-traditional physical activities such as figure skating exemplify a less desirable, stigmatized type of masculinity, termed effeminate, sissy or gay.