Social Science Theories In Psychology And Sociology: Kathrine Switzer And The Boston Marathon
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It was 1967 and 2 miles into the 26.2 mile competition, Boston Marathon officials attempted to pull Kathrine Switzer from the course right in front of the press. The young athlete had trained for months and ran with her track coach and boyfriend who tried to block the officials, as Kathrine continued her race. The profuse sexism and discrimination that this photo shows and represents, illustrates how far women’s rights and combatting stigma has come since the late sixties. Astoundingly, at that time woman were still generally regarded as too “fragile” to compete in long distance running at all, and until 1984 the women’s marathon was not an Olympic event. The sexist views, historical gender roles and social impact that surround this image, connect with multiple social science theories in psychology, anthropology and sociology.
The 60’s saw the birth of the feminist movement after the Second World War and the subsequent surge of women in the workforce. However it took a long time for women rights to make advancements and for traditional gender roles to stop influencing society. This photograph connects to the changing, traditional and cultural gender roles of the time and to the school of thought that is Feminist Anthropology. Although feminism was on the rise, women were shunned from many sports and were not officially allowed in the Boston Marathon until 1972. Yet half a decade earlier, Kathrine Switzer was the first to complete the race as a numbered