Brohman, D. (2023). Empowering champions: An explanatory mixed methods study on Ontario adolescent female field hockey players’ adherence to gender norms in athletics. The Young Researcher, 7(1), 194-207. http://www.theyoungresearcher.com/papers/brohman.pdf
Despite recognizing that sports are inherently masculine, divergent findings exist regarding the effect of athletics culture on female athletes’ adherence to gender norms. This explanatory sequential mixed-methods study aims to gain a deeper understanding of how field hockey, a feminized sport in Ontario, influences athletes’ conformity to gender norms. Data was collected from 42 field hockey players and 55 non-athletes utilizing a survey adaptation of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory and semi-structured interviews. The study found a minimal discrepancy between athletes’ and non-athletes’ conformity to gender norms, which is attributed to the contemporary implementation of femininity in athletics and the feminization of field hockey. As a result, athletes experienced empowerment yet reported judgment from stakeholders and body image issues. Therefore, mitigating solutions are proposed, including altering the perception of field hockey to be androgynous to increase the perceived athletic validity of the sport, appointing female coaches, and training male coaches.
Keywords: field hockey, adherence to traditional gender norms, female empowerment, body image issues, athletics culture