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Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports

Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports

by Robyn Ryle


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This book uses the world of sports in order to reveal the complicated history of gender, sexuality, race, and social justice while connecting those stories to today’s athletes. It highlights the ways sports often contribute to inequalities, but also how they can help make the world more accepting. Have you ever wondered why most cheerleaders are girls? It didn’t used to be that way. Up until the early twentieth century, all cheerleaders were actually boys. And why do some athletes, like Caster Semenya, have to prove they’re women while there’s no testing for men? Why do athletes like Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick use sports as a platform for social justice, and should they? These questions and more are examined in Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports. Robyn Ryle uses the world of sports to examine the history, controversy, and current conversations around sexuality, race, and social justice, bringing in the stories of today’s athletes to highlight where things stand in the present. Topics covered include gender segregation, gender testing, transgender athletes, sexuality, homophobia, globalization, race, and activism. Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy shows the great strides that have been made in the sports world recently, but there are still questions that remain and work that needs to be done. This book brings to attention the ways in which sports can contribute to inequalities, while also demonstrating how sports can help create a more just world for everyone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538130667
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 06/29/2020
Pages: 186
Sales rank: 1,106,542
Product dimensions: 6.39(w) x 9.39(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Robyn Ryle is a sociologist, writer, and sports fan who has taught about gender, race, and sexuality to college students for twenty years. Her previous books include She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters and Binary Resisters and Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. She lives in Madison, Indiana.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

1 When All Cheerleaders Were Boys: Sports and Gender Segregation 1

2 How to Tell If a Woman Is "Really" a Woman: Gender Testing and the Olympics 17

3 Throwing Like a Girl: Are Men Really Better Athletes Than Women? 31

4 Sport for Everyone?: The Case of Transgender Athletes 43

5 Bow or No Bow?: Sexuality in Women's Sports 59

6 Inside the Boys' Locker Room: Homophobia and Men's Sports 73

7 Why the Dutch Are So Good at Baseball: Globalization, Sports, and the Legacy of Colonialism 87

8 The Best Italian Baseball Player Is Black: How the Histories of Sport and Race Intertwine 103

9 Riding a Bike, Raising a Fist, and Taking a Knee: The Long History of Sports, Activism, and Social Change 119

Notes 133

Bibliography 157

Index 169

About the Author 175

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