Gender Typing of Sports: An Investigation of Metheny's Classification

Brenda A. Reimer
Michelle E. Visio, Missouri State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate if children perceived certain sports to be masculine, feminine, or neutral. Students attending a University Laboratory school (grades K-l 2) were asked to fill out a survey about sports during a class period. Children in grades K–6 were given a sport (such as baseball) and asked if a boy named David would play it, if a girl named Jane would play it, or if both David and Jane would play the sport. Students in grades 7–12 were asked to name their favorite athlete or team and sport and indicate what sports they felt was best for a girl and a boy. Then they were given a list of sports and asked to indicate, using a 5-point Likert-type scale, whether they believed the sport was masculine, neutral, or feminine. Results from loglinear analyses indicated that students sex-typed certain sports, such as aerobics and football. Additionally, although some responses from students in grades 7–12 indicated that individuals should be able to play any sport they wanted, there were many gendered responses in terms of what sport(s) girls and boys should participate in. The results are discussed with reference to Metheny's categories of permissible sports for girls and in the framework of the gender typing of sport.