Cultural Role Of Women In Sports

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The story of an average Indian sportswoman often struggles to materialize into heroic tales of achievement, rarely making its way into annals of history. Sport does not fit the cultural role play, traditionally associated with Indian women and as a result, women sporting role models are a rarity. Culturally, sport signifies agency, control over one’s body and strength; the traditional dynamics of masculinity, which help preserve the gender power relationship in favor of men in the society. Thus, to keep social institutions such as sport, within the parameters of the patriarchal world order, women are ‘subaltern-ised’. The present paper explores the media narrativised iconicity of Indian lawn tennis player Sania Mirza which is mainly structured…show more content…
The space called national heroes has traditionally been occupied by men or as Anne Mclintok declares, ‘nationalism is gendered’ (1). Indian women have always been relegated to the private space of home in the process of nation building, throughout the times of the freedom struggle of the country, the era when the notion of India as a nation, germinated in the public sphere. The association of women with the metaphorical label of being the ‘mother’ of the nation exemplifies the degree of involvement allowed as an agent in the workings of Indian society. This trend continues till date. Any exemplary achievement by a woman in India is grounded in traditional markers defining women in relation to men and their label as such in the cultural context. Contemporary global achievers in the field of sports like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom are often branded as ‘daughters of the nation’; pointing towards the space they are allowed in accordance with patriarchy in the societal…show more content…
Post World War 2, the rise of capitalism and growing feminist movements for greater equity for women, resulted in greater participation and representation of women in the public sphere, accompanied by shifting of labor oriented industrial set up towards a more service oriented edifice(Messner 201). This resulted in more commercial visibility for film stars, sports stars and political leaders. While India had a taste of national icons in the field of politics and cinema such as Indira Gandhi, the field of sport, with its obvious disregard for traditional feminity, inherent in its form and content, had not seen an acknowledged woman icon. It is only during the last decade of the 20th century, Indian socio-economic edifice realizing the potential and requirement of women sports icons, decided to cheer its
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