Annotated bibliography

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120 words ×4 articles
Step 1 involves: choose one topic that you enjoyed from weeks 1-5 (e.g. gender and the environment, global studies, education, food or sports).[2]
Step 2 involves: critically reading the sources provided on Moodle by identifying the main argument of a source (e.g. what is its thesis or central claim, research question or hypothesis), its major methods of investigation used to address a problem identified and its main conclusions. You are not merely describing its content (e.g. summarising an abstract).
Step 3 involves: summarising the main argument or findings of a source based on step 2.
Step 4 involves: assessing the value of a source to an investigation of your topic, e.g. its impact in making new connections or offering new ways of redressing a problem, its effectiveness in using a particular method of investigation, its innovative use of a theoretical framework or key concept to shed new light on an old problem, the generalizability of its claims or conclusions, etc.
AMU1310 Annotated Bibliography (topic 2)
Student name & ID
 
Rai, S. M. (2011). Gender and development: Theoretical perspectives. In N. Visvanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The Women, gender and development reader (pp. 28-37). Retrieved from: http://www.monash.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=765182.
Rai’s (2011) article examines the various gender and development theories, focusing on the ‘WID’ and “GAD’ perspectives and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. She thus provides a framework for the complexities of these theories and the subsequent debates in the development field. The development of the theories discussed in the article have made numerous positive contributions towards the production of more gendered and multifaceted development indexes and programmes, although, as Rai notes, “gendered inequality continues to be high” (p. 35).
 
Rai, S. M. (2011). Gender and development: Theoretical perspectives. In N. Visvanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The Women, gender and development reader (pp. 28-37). Retrieved from: http://www.monash.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=765182.
Rai’s (2011) article examines the various gender and development theories, focusing on the ‘WID’ and “GAD’ perspectives and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. She thus provides a framework for the complexities of these theories and the subsequent debates in the development field. The development of the theories discussed in the article have made numerous positive contributions towards the production of more gendered and multifaceted development indexes and programmes, although, as Rai notes, “gendered inequality continues to be high” (p. 35).
 
 
Rai, S. M. (2011). Gender and development: Theoretical perspectives. In N. Visvanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The Women, gender and development reader (pp. 28-37). Retrieved from: http://www.monash.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=765182.
Rai’s (2011) article examines the various gender and development theories, focusing on the ‘WID’ and “GAD’ perspectives and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. She thus provides a framework for the complexities of these theories and the subsequent debates in the development field. The development of the theories discussed in the article have made numerous positive contributions towards the production of more gendered and multifaceted development indexes and programmes, although, as Rai notes, “gendered inequality continues to be high” (p. 35).
 
 
Rai, S. M. (2011). Gender and development: Theoretical perspectives. In N. Visvanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The Women, gender and development reader (pp. 28-37). Retrieved from: http://www.monash.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=765182.
Rai’s (2011) article examines the various gender and development theories, focusing on the ‘WID’ and “GAD’ perspectives and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. She thus provides a framework for the complexities of these theories and the subsequent debates in the development field. The development of the theories discussed in the article have made numerous positive contributions towards the production of more gendered and multifaceted development indexes and programmes, although, as Rai notes, “gendered inequality continues to be high” (p. 35).
 
 
 
 
Rai, S. M. (2011). Gender and development: Theoretical perspectives. In N. Visvanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The Women, gender and development reader (pp. 28-37). Retrieved from: http://www.monash.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=765182.
Rai’s (2011) article examines the various gender and development theories, focusing on the ‘WID’ and “GAD’ perspectives and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. She thus provides a framework for the complexities of these theories and the subsequent debates in the development field. The development of the theories discussed in the article have made numerous positive contributions towards the production of more gendered and multifaceted development indexes and programmes, although, as Rai notes, “gendered inequality continues to be high” (p. 35).
 
(564 words)
Emotion Review
Vol. 7, No. 1 (January 2015) 39–46
© The Author(s) 2015
ISSN 1754-0739
DOI: 10.1177/1754073914544476
er.sagepub.com
The 1992 film A League of Their Own is a fictionalized account
of one team in the real-life 1940s All-American Girls
Professional Baseball League. At one point in a critical game,
the right fielder (played by Bitty Schram) blows the Rockford
Peaches’ lead. Angrily berated by the gruff manager (played by
Tom Hanks) she begins to sob because of her mistake. The cursing,
exasperated manager loses his temper completely and
shouts, “There’s no crying in baseball!” The still-popular catchphrase
does not, however, capture the reality of tears in baseball—
or any other competitive sport.
The scene in A League of Their Own focuses on the
stereotype-consistent crying behavior of women in sports, but
in popular sports media, images of male athletes shedding
tears as the result of major victories and defeats are common.
Indeed, we are regularly exposed to videos and news headlines
about athletes tearing up or weeping on the field and on
the sidelines. Recent examples of crying behavior can be
found in all types of sports: Michael Jordan upon being
inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 (basketball), Tiger
Woods after his 2006 British Open win (golf), Brett Favre
during his 2008 retirement speech (football), Iker Casillas
after Spain’s 2010 World Cup victory (soccer), and Roger
Federer after his loss in the 2009 Australian Open final (tennis),
to name just a few.
The prevalence of tears in men’s competitive sports may, at
first glance, seem counterintuitive, and there are two main reasons
for this. First, given the association of tears with so-called
“weak emotions” (e.g., Bekker & Vingerhoets, 2001), the public
expression of sadness (after a loss), or other tear-eliciting emotions
(such as joy or pride after a win), is inconsistent with what
are typically put forward as prevailing masculine norms for display
of emotion in North America (Good, Sherrod, & Dillon,
2000; Pleck, 1995). Second, male competitive sports are especially
associated with hegemonic masculinity, for both athletes
and spectators (Messner, 1992; Nelson, 1994). Therefore, competitive
sports should be an especially unlikely place for supposedly
counter normative expressions of emotion to occur.
In this article we explore these seeming contradictions to construct
an account of men’s negotiation of emotional expression
within larger social discourses around masculinity. We draw on
the phenomenon of men’s crying within the competitive sports
context to demonstrate that although the prevailing image of
men’s emotion is one of constricted emotional expression and
experience (e.g., Wong & Rochlen, 2005), inexpressivity is
There’s No Crying in Baseball, or Is There?
Male Athletes, Tears, and Masculinity in
North America
Heather J. MacArthur
Stephanie A. Shields
Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Abstract
We explore men’s negotiation of emotional expression within larger social discourses around masculinity. Drawing on the
phenomenon of men’s crying within the competitive sports context, we demonstrate that although the prevailing image of men’s
emotion is one of constricted expression and experience, inexpressivity is representative neither of typical nor ideal masculinity
in contemporary dominant culture. We first review the literature on prevailing cultural beliefs about normative male emotional
expression, then focus on literature specific to men’s tears. Turning to a discussion of masculinity and sports participation, we offer
possible explanations for why counter normative emotional expressions may be particularly prevalent and public in the context of
men’s competitive sports, despite wider cultural discourses that appear to discourage men’s openly expressive behavior.
Keywords
competitive sports, gender, masculinity, tears
Corresponding author: Heather J. MacArthur, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, State College, PA 16802, USA. Email: hjm158@psu.edu
544476EMR0010.1177/1754073914544476Emotion Review Vol. 7 No. 1MacArthur & Shields Male Athletes, Tears, and Masculinity
research-article2014
40 Emotion Review Vol. 7 No. 1
representative neither of typical nor of ideal masculinity in contemporary
dominant culture. We argue that performing “ideal”
male emotion does not, as the prevailing view holds, involve a
complete rejection of emotion, but is instead constructed as
doing emotion in a way that can be defended as “not feminine.”
We first review research on prevailing cultural beliefs about normative
male emotional expression, and then research specifically
related to men and tears. We then turn to a discussion of
masculinity and sports participation, with a particular emphasis
on how emotion factors into the intersection of the two. Next, we
offer possible explanations for why these “counter normative”
emotional expressions may be particularly prevalent and public
in the context of men’s competitive sports, despite wider cultural
discourses that appear to discourage men’s openly expressive
behavior. We conclude by identifying areas for further study
related to tears, masculinity, and sport. Given that the majority of
research cited in this article has been conducted with North
American (U.S. American and Canadian) participants, we restrict
our conclusions to these contexts. However, we expect that many
aspects of our analyses would apply in other cultural contexts as
well. For example, some research and examples we cite are
drawn from Western Europe. Other research suggests a close link
between sport and masculinity in non-Western cultures (e.g.,
Archetti, 1998; Morrell, 1998), where athletes are similarly
depicted crying in popular media (e.g., Brazilian soccer players
after a 2010 World Cup elimination, Indian cricketers after winning
the World Cup in 2010). As such, men’s crying in competitive
sport may be a widespread phenomenon.
Masculinity and Beliefs About Emotional
Experience and Expression
Stereotypes of heteronormative masculine inexpressivity have
been prevalent in Western cultures for decades (Wong &
Rochlen, 2008). Like other gender stereotypes, gender-emotion
stereotypes have a prescriptive as well as descriptive function,
and most contemporary discussions of heteronormative masculinity
emphasize the role of mental “toughness” and emotional
reserve (Pleck, 1995). When it comes to masculinity, the dominant
message is that felt emotion must be controlled and that
open expression of emotion is a sign of femininity, and thus
inferiority and weakened masculinity (Fischer, Bekker,
Vingerhoets, Becht, & Manstead, 2004). Men are therefore
expected to be consistently tough, calm, rational, and in control.
Indeed, emotional control is included in Mahalik et al.’s
(2003) list of 11 norms that define dominant masculinity in the
United States.
Popular beliefs about what is considered gender typical “ideal
emotion” manifest themselves early in the lives of young males,
taking the form of social pressure towards conformity to these
believed norms. Parents of pre-school children, for example, tend
to encourage the expression of sadness in their daughters, but not
in their sons (Fivush, 1989; Fivush & Buckner, 2000). As Good et al.
(2000) point out, boys who cry are quickly reprimanded for their
behavior and told that “big boys don’t cry,” because “crying is for
girls” (p. 64). Implicit in this message is the idea that tears are
feminine and inconsistent with masculinity, and therefore are
unacceptable for boys to display when experiencing pain, hurt, or
even joy. Such negative feedback, which can also include being
called derogatory terms such as “sissy” and “fag,” is aversive, and
therefore serves as warning against too open display of feelings.
Children themselves seem to have successfully received this message,
as school-aged boys who are perceived to cry easily tend to
be the least popular students from among their classmates, and
boys in general are ashamed of their crying to a greater extent
than girls (Adler, Kless, & Adler, 1992; Truijers & Vingerhoets,
as cited in Fischer et al., 2004). A caveat here is that although
gender differences in self-reported crying appear to emerge
around the age of 11 (van Tilburg, Unterberg, & Vingerhoets,
2002) and continue to increase with age, it remains unclear
whether this difference can be accounted for by decreased selfreported
crying of boys or increased reporting by girls (Rottenberg
& Vingerhoets, 2012).
Nevertheless, Doyle (1983) notes that the first and most fundamental
lesson boys learn in developing a sense of masculinity
is to define it in terms of what is “not girl.” This general rule
applies to what children learn about what it means to experience
emotion, what kinds of emotion-related expectations one should
develop about oneself (or others) as persons, the signs and
symptoms one should rely on to know one’s own or someone
else’s emotion, and how to tell whether an emotion is genuine as
well as appropriate to the context.
We can ask, however, whether to be “not girl” means a rejection
of emotion entirely: is a lack of emotion really what is most
valued in men? After all, the person without emotion is not
human. Therein lies the paradox of emotion. Although emotion
has typically been associated with femininity and irrational, disorganized
behavior (e.g., Solomon, 2008), it is also viewed as
essentially human, and in some cases is even seen as a requirement
for optimal performance (Gould, Eklund, & Jackson,
1992; Warner, Zawadzki, & Shields, 2014).
To negotiate the tricky territory of appropriate emotion, one
must be able to show rationality and control as well as emotional
authenticity. Shields (2002, 2005) has proposed that an
expressive mode in North America that enables an individual to
achieve this delicate balance is characterized by controlled
expression that telegraphs intense feeling while clearly showing
that feelings are not themselves in control of the individual’s
motivations or behavior. Originally described as “manly emotion”
because of its relation to idealized heterosexual masculinity,
such displays convey that men are human, feeling beings
who are deeply affected by what is happening around them, yet
also show that they are able to maintain the emotional control
and mental toughness associated with idealized masculinity.
Manly emotion is more accurately described as “passionate
restraint” because it is an expressive mode valued in women as
well as men in circumstances where the individual’s general
competence and ability to exercise good judgment is at issue.
Zawadzki, Warner, and Shields (2013), for example, found that
participants rated both inexpressive and “extravagantly expressive”
targets as less competent than those who demonstrated
passionate restraint in response to a sad situation. A classic
example of passionate restraint is tearing up in a sad or moving
MacArthur & Shields Male Athletes, Tears, and Masculinity 41
situation. The tear signals genuine emotion, and the limited flow
indicates a control over those emotions (Vingerhoets, Cornelius,
van Heck, & Brecht, 2000). In support of this idea, Warner and
Shields (2007) found that in a vignette scenario, a single tear
running down the cheek was evaluated more positively than visible
crying. Wong, Steinfeldt, LaFollette, and Tsao (2011) came
to a similar conclusion in their study on football players’ evaluations
of other players’ crying. Participants in the “tearing up”
condition rated crying behavior higher on perceived appropriateness,
how often they perceived it to happen, and how likely
they would be to cry in the same situation than participants in
the sobbing condition.
Overall, it seems that in learning to function within the dominant
discourses of masculinity, boys are not encouraged to shut
down emotion entirely. Rather, they must learn to reject emotion
expression identified with femininity or ineffectual/insubstantial
masculinity, and, at the same time, learn how to perform
emotion in an acceptably manly way. From this perspective, the
“stiff upper lip” is not an indication that emotion is banished,
but a signal that feelings are firmly under control. We propose
that actual norms of masculine emotion, contrary to culturally
shared beliefs about the prevalence of masculine inexpressivity,
do not deny the significance of emotion, but instead focus on
when and how appropriate masculine emotion should be visible
to others (Shields, 2002).
Despite the persistence of beliefs that masculine inexpressivity
is a truism (Shields, 2013), a growing body of evidence
shows that inexpressivity is neither valued nor typical of men’s
everyday behavior (Wester, Vogel, Pressly, & Heesacker, 2002).
For example, research on social sharing of emotion (verbally
relating emotional events to others) consistently shows no gender
differences. Across different methods, women and men tend
to engage in social sharing 80 to 95% of the time, even for rather
mild emotional occurrences (Rimé, 2007). Wong and Rochlen
(2005) also point out that the persistent misunderstanding of
men’s typical expressive behavior may be the result of considering
only limited modes of emotional expression in research on
men’s emotion.
Men and Tears
Before turning to a discussion of men’s tears in competitive
sports, we must first consider what is known about men’s tears
more generally. As noted before, within the broader cultural
message of “boys don’t cry,” expectations of masculine inexpressivity
are not as universal as the dominant stereotype of
masculinity implies. Wetherall and Edley (1999) argue, for
example, that to navigate the complexities of masculine expectations,
men do not subscribe to any single set of norms for masculinity,
but rather choose from among a number of norms that
could apply in a given situation. In other words, the performance
of masculinity is flexible and fluid, and men are active participants
in the construction of masculinity. Despite the messages
men receive that crying is incompatible with masculinity, investigation
of both crying behavior and how people respond to a
tearful individual show that the picture is more complex.
Men’s Tears
Identifying individual differences among men that may account
for crying behavior is made difficult by the fact that nearly all of
this research relies on retrospective self-report. Although selfreport
may be a good indicator of what people believe to be true
about themselves (Shields & Steinke, 2003), self-reports about
emotional behavior tend to be heavily influenced by genderemotion
stereotypes; specifically, the more general the question
and the further removed in time from the emotional event, the
more likely self-reports will be in line with gender-emotion stereotypes
(e.g., Else-Quest, Higgins, Allison, & Morton, 2012;
La France & Banaji, 1992; Shields, 1991). Furthermore, situational
factors also influence men’s reported adherence to stereotypic
masculine emotion norms (e.g., Jones & Heesacker, 2012).
For example, Fischer and Manstead (1998) found that men
report less crying to a male experimenter than to a female experimenter.
Consistent with other gender research, public situations
also elicit more gender stereotypic behavior than private situations.
Fischer and Manstead found that when men’s crying
responses were videotaped and they were told that others would
see the tape, men (but not women) reported less crying than
when they were asked to describe their responses in writing and
were told that no one else would see them.
Men in environments that permit divergence from restrictive
masculinity tend to report more frequent crying than men who
are not. Bronstein, Briones, Brooks, and Cowan (1996), for
example, found that male adolescents who grew up in a household
with emotionally expressive and accepting parents reported
more gender stereotype-incongruent emotions (including crying)
than adolescents who had more emotionally restrictive parents.
Similarly, survey research (Ross & Mirowsky, 1984) has
shown that non-traditional men (i.e., men who do not subscribe
to hegemonic masculine norms) report crying more often than
traditional men (who define themselves according to traditional
masculine norms). On the other hand, research on cultural variance
in crying indicates that gender differences in self-reported
crying proneness are greatest in wealthier, more democratic,
and feminine countries (van Hemert, van de Vijver, &
Vingerhoets, 2011). Other groups of men who report higher frequencies
of crying are those with high self-esteem (Vingerhoets,
van den Berg, Kortekaas, van Heck, & Croon, 1992), and those
who work as therapists (Trezza, Hastrup, & Kim, 1988, as cited
in Bekker & Vingerhoets, 2001). Although research on gender
and tears shows that women as a group report more frequent
crying (e.g., Bekker & Vingerhoets, 1999, 2001; Vingerhoets &
Scheirs, 2000), there are also certain situations in which men
report crying more frequently than women. Fischer and
Manstead (1998), for example, found that men were more likely
than women to report crying over a death, the breakup of a relationship,
the death of a pet, and at farewells.
In summary, it appears that men’s reports about their crying
propensity and frequency are affected by both the immediate
and the sociocultural environment. As with other gender stereotypic
behaviors, individuals are attentive to gendered expectations
for how to behave in particular ways at particular times. So
crying for the “right” reasons—such as serious situations of loss
42 Emotion Review Vol. 7 No. 1
over which one does not have control—is deemed appropriately
masculine (Fischer & Manstead, 1998).
Responses to Men’s Tears
Given the association of crying with femininity and weakness,
one might expect that crying men would be evaluated negatively.
However, research findings on this subject are mixed,
and do not appear to support this conclusion. Consistent with
the idea that the expression of emotion actually is an important
component of embodied masculinity, research shows that, at
least in some situations, men who cry are rated more positively
than women. Labott, Martin, Eason, and Berkey (1991), for
example, had participants watch a video of either a man or a
woman crying in response to a sad movie, and found that both
women and men reported feeling more sympathy for the crying
man than the crying woman. Results also indicated that criers
were considered more emotional, but not more feminine than
targets who were laughing or who remained neutral. Warner and
Shields (2007), in a vignette study on how gender affects people’s
perceptions of a target’s tears, similarly found that crying
men were evaluated more favorably than crying women. Other
studies, however, have found that crying men are evaluated
more negatively than crying women (e.g., Fischer, 2006) or
show no differences in crying evaluations between genders
(e.g., Hendriks, Croon, & Vingerhoets, 2008).
The inconsistency across studies in evaluation of men’s tears
suggests that contextual factors, like those that influence selfreports
of crying, should be investigated. That is, the perception
of the reason for the tears and the nature of crying (moist eyes
versus openly weeping) may predict whether men will be more
harshly or more positively judged than women for their tears.
Having examined the literature on beliefs about masculine emotion
norms as well as men’s tears, we now turn to a discussion
of men in competitive sports.
Athletics, Tears, and Masculinity
As the opening examples of this article illustrate, both wins and
losses in competitive sport seem to be capable of evoking
intense emotions in male athletes, and this seems to be true for
male spectators as well (Fischer et al., 2004; Shields, 2002).
Indeed, unpublished data from Vingerhoets shows that watching
sportsmen crying, both in defeat and in victory, frequently
evoked tears in men (see Fischer et al., 2004, for a description).
As several participants in Walton, Coyle, and Lyon’s (2004)
qualitative study on masculinity and emotion put it:
Tom: But it depends what the emotion’s about though. ‘Cause if
it’s a football match…
Craig: That’s true yeah. I was hugging complete strangers in
Barcelona if truth be known. I was over two seats. Two,
everybody was all over the place.
Andrew: So it’s all right to show your emotions at a football match.
As this exchange illustrates, sports is one context in which
open emotional expression is considered normal and appropriate
for men. Indeed, the “screaming at the tube, slapping raucous
high-fives, indulging in loud emotional outbursts” (Nelson,
1994, p. 4) that seem to accompany sports reveal men’s expression
of emotion that might be seen as over the top in many other
contexts. Similarly, Nelson’s (1994) contention that a man may
become irritable for an entire day if his team loses illustrates
that emotion widely believed to be “unmanly” is allowed to pass
relatively unnoticed in the competitive sports context.
As for crying athletes themselves, the tears of these men
seem to be largely taken in stride by other athletes, fans, and the
media. One prominent example comes from Derek Loville, a
former San Francisco 49ers running back, who cried regularly
before taking to the field on game days. When one of his teammates,
Adam Walker, was asked about his reaction to this emotive
behavior, the teammate replied that although he found the
crying “strange at first,” he attributed the emotion to the fact
that his teammate simply “loves playing so much” (Lutz, 1999,
p. 189). Loville’s crying was also treated with respect in the
media. For example, the San Francisco Examiner published a
piece on Loville entitled “49ers Loville Cries Tears of Strength”
(Lutz, 1999).
Wong et al. (2011) further show the relative normality and
acceptability of tears on the football field. Wong et al. asked
competitive college football players to rate vignettes of football
players crying on dimensions of appropriateness (how appropriate
the behavior was deemed to be given the context), typicality
(how frequently participants perceived such behavior to actually
occur), and conformity (how likely would participants be to
behave the same way if placed in the given scenario), and found
that the players, on average, rated crying behavior above the
midpoint for all three. Interestingly, players consistently rated
scenarios highest on appropriateness and lowest on conformity,
indicating that they felt crying was highly appropriate after losing
(and to a lesser extent, winning), yet they reported being less
likely to engage in this type of behavior themselves. One possible
interpretation for this finding is that football players themselves
do not object to displays of emotion on the field, but
think that others will find it objectionable (and thus wish to
withhold their own emotions to some extent).
On the other hand, not all male athletes who cry in public are
treated kindly. When quarterback Tim Tebow broke into tears
after losing to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
final, the reaction was largely negative, with spectators likening
Tebow to “a little girl” and a “crybaby” (Wong et al., 2011).
Here we see once again that men need to cry the “right way” to
be considered manly. One article on the askmen.com website
entitled “The Rules for Crying in Sports” tells us that crying
after a loss “of course, is unacceptable if that athlete is responsible
for the loss” (Schottey, 2013), and goes on to describe Tim
Tebow’s “horrible” performance in the SEC final. The credibility
of askmen.com’s piece and its ability to speak for all sports
spectators is certainly questionable, yet it seems likely that a
player’s current performance and status on the team (or as an
individual athlete) might affect how others react to his crying.
Other possible factors could include team retirement status (is
this the last game that an athlete will play with his team?),
underdog status (was the player or team expected to win the
game?), and frequency of crying (has the player cried over other
issues in the past?; Lutz, 1999; Schottey, 2013).
MacArthur & Shields Male Athletes, Tears, and Masculinity 43
To understand why transgressions of perceived gender norms
for emotional expression have become prominent and even celebrated
in the competitive sports context, it is useful to understand
how competitive sports and masculinity are intertwined in
sports culture.
Sports and Masculinity
According to Messner (1992), sport is an institution with structures
and values that are closely tied to those of society at large,
and as such, is used as a vehicle for socializing boys into the
perceived norms and culture of masculinity. Qualities that are
emphasized in sports, such as physical strength, aggression,
stoicism, and competition, bear a striking resemblance to the
norms that are believed to be most valued in men of the Western
world (Wong et al., 2011). In fact, of Mahalik et al.’s (2003) 11
qualities that define hegemonic North American masculinity,
sport and its surrounding culture arguably promote seven: winning,
risk-taking, violence, dominance, playboy (the ability to
attract a large number of women), disdain for homosexuals, and
pursuit of status, though the applicability of these qualities certainly
varies widely by sport and by athlete.
As the only large cultural institution in Western society that
remains formally gender segregated, Nelson (1994) further
argues that male sports have become cultural bastions of masculinity,
in which men come together to celebrate all that is male,
and sometimes, deride all that is female. Defining masculinity
according to anti-femininity begins early in children’s sports
careers. Boys who do not play sports are considered “sissies,”
and the worst insult a young male athlete can receive from his
peers is “you throw like a girl” (Nelson, 1994, p. 2). Indeed,
Messner’s (1992) qualitative interviews with 30 male former
athletes revealed that for these men, sport and masculinity were
intertwined from the very beginning. Competitive sports offered
a way for the boys to form ties with male peers, as well as to
gain respect from older males. Of particular relevance in the
men’s stories were their fathers, who were often absent or emotionally
distant. The men described how they were propelled to
excel in sports because of a desire to win the love and affection
of their fathers, and to live up to the power and status of the
older men. Sports were also used by these athletes to seek
approval and affection from male peers, older brothers, and later
in their careers, the crowd and media. Unfortunately, this validation
and approval was seen as contingent on performing well
and winning, and the men therefore developed a conditional
sense of self-worth, in that beating the “other guys” was seen as
the key to connecting with others in the athlete’s life. Messner
concludes that, as a result, the men developed “positional identities,”
in which they located themselves on a hierarchy above or
beneath others in their social and athletic circles, and judged
themselves in relation to these other males.
Perhaps not surprisingly, masculinity continues to be important
in the sporting careers of adult men. Nelson (1994) contends
that those who are good at sports get instant masculine
credibility, and even nonathletes who associate themselves with
sport through team loyalty can feel as though they were part of
the dominant masculine culture. This is especially true for what
Nelson calls “manly sports”: North American football, basketball,
baseball, boxing, ice hockey, wrestling, and soccer, all of
which are particularly useful for men who wish to define their
masculinity through sport. In these sports, Messner (1992)
argues that aggression is highly valued. Brutal hits, for example,
are considered displays of dominant masculinity, and thus not
“violent” as long as they are carried out within the rules of the
game. He further suggests that public masculinity is regulated
not just through anti-femininity, but also through projections of
homophobia. Men in sports who are too emotionally open with
their peers, for example, run the risk of being seen as a “fag.”
Masculinity within sport is constructed as a place where tenderness,
softness, or weakness must be suppressed at all costs, and
this often includes denial of physical pain and continuing to
play despite injury. How is it, then, even in this context of hypermasculinity,
where the dominant discourse seems to be one of
emotional control, that male athletes find room to shed tears in
victory and in defeat?
Athletics, Emotion, and the Construction of
Masculine Identity
Paradoxically, although men’s sports are constructed as highly
tough, physical, and masculine domains, and it would therefore
be expected that proscriptions against emotional display
would be heightened and strictly enforced within this context,
it may be precisely because sports are so crucial to the construction
of athletes’ (and spectators’) masculine identities that
they become a prominent site for the expression of emotion.
Kottler (1996) proposes that men (as well as women) cry as a
result of feelings that affect components of their core identity,
and for male athletes, two of these are “athlete” and “man”
(Adler & Adler, 1991; Messner, 1992). Identities relating to
sport and masculinity are highly interwoven, such that a loss
may represent more than just failure at a game. Most significantly,
defeat may represent a loss of masculine credibility, as
well as a break in an athlete’s sense of (conditional) self-worth,
particularly in relation to male peers (Messner, 1992).
Ultimately, even though it may seem that sports institutions
would promote dominant discourses of the inexpressive male
as the ideal, in practice, the interconnected nature of sport and
masculinity make it a powerful site for emotional involvement
and expression.
The intensity of a player’s response to wins and losses may
also stem in part from the emotional management of the coach.
The emotional aspects of coaching are not often acknowledged
as being part of a coach’s duties. Research, however, indicates
that coaches play a major role in manipulating and regulating
players’ emotions, ostensibly in service of the team and the athlete.
In Adler and Adler’s (1991) participant observation study
on male college freshman basketball players, for example, the
authors remarked:
He [the coach] had to manipulate them [the players] to the precise point
where they were committed enough to their athletic role and future that
they held it as their first priority and sacrificed everything to it. At the
same time, he had to keep them from entertaining dreams so grandiose
44 Emotion Review Vol. 7 No. 1
that they neglected their classes and university-related responsibilities
because they were dreaming of jumping to the NBA every day. (p. 80)
As a result of such emotional management, which encourages
athletes to construct their entire lives around sport and to sacrifice
everything for the game, athletics may become such an integral
part of players’ identities that a loss becomes devastating.
In competitive contexts, losses may represent not only a personal
failure, but also a dent in one’s athletic dreams and career.
As one player in Adler and Adler’s (1991) study commented:
You work so hard. He [Coach] say, “Son, you keep this up, you’re a first
round NBA player”… Coach keeps that idea in your head that you could
be the next Michael Jordan, you’ve got this and that. He manipulate you
in that way. A lot. (p. 82)
This construction of a male athlete’s identity around sport is
also facilitated by the fact that competitive athletes may spend
the majority of their time with teammates and other athletes,
meaning that their social world becomes engulfed by sport
(Adler & Adler, 1991). For this reason, crying in front of one’s
teammates after a major loss may be acceptable because teammates,
having gone through the same trials and tribulations as
the player who is crying, may be the only people who understand
the intensity and meaning of the emotion being experienced
(Adler & Adler, 1991).
As for crying that results from winning a big game, work
from Lutz’s (2002) historical review of a film genre referred to
as the “male weepie” may shed light on the source of men’s
emotion and the meaning of their tears. The production of these
melodramatic films began in 1931 with the making of The
Champ, and according to Lutz, their popularity reached a peak
in the 1950s. The explicit goal of male weepies was to elicit an
emotional response (particularly tears) in men, just as the
“women’s films” of the 1930s and 1940s were produced with
the intention of making women cry. In the essay, Lutz argues
that the “flashpoint” for tears in these films was centered around
fulfilling the performance of masculinity. Crying occurs when
the main character recovers his masculinity after overcoming a
challenge relating to his role as a provider, husband, or some
other social role considered central to masculine identity. What
elicits emotion in men, it seems, is when a character rises back
to the glory of living in accordance with the normative expectations
of hegemonic masculinity, after experiencing a temporary
lapse into social disruption.
Drawing a parallel between these male-targeted melodramas
and sport, it seems that competitive sport may provide men with
the modern-day equivalent of a “male weepie”: players battle
through countless tribulations and setbacks on the field to
achieve the ultimate masculine success, which is represented by
a championship win. As Nelson (1994) puts it, “games become
symbolic struggles, passion plays reenacted daily to define,
affirm, and celebrate manliness” (p. 5).
Summary and Future Directions
In summary, we review evidence suggesting that despite seemingly
broad cultural messages of “boys don’t cry,” norms for
hegemonic masculinity do not proscribe tears altogether; rather,
crying must be done in the “right,” masculine way (Shields,
2002, 2005). Specifically, emotion is not to be expressed in ways
that are stereotypically associated with girls, women, or femininity.
Indeed, we find that norms for masculinity are more fluid and
flexible than they appear: when signaling through tears that their
emotion is genuinely felt but under control, for example, crying
men may be evaluated more favorably than crying women.
Furthermore, a number of contextual variables (e.g., culture,
family environment) influence men’s reported crying behavior.
These ideas are supported by the example of men’s crying in the
competitive sports context. We have argued that, contrary to
what is widely believed, men’s sports are not immune from the
expression of supposedly counterstereotypical emotions, but are
rather a prominent site for such emotions precisely because they
are so strongly linked to important aspects of masculine identity.
Thus, as long as tears are expressed in the “correct,” nonfeminine
way, tears in competitive sports can be considered an
acceptable and normal part of the game.
Although this review represents a beginning point in research
on tears, masculinity, and sport, there are many questions that
remain. For example, future research could investigate the
developmental aspects of crying in sports. Is there a developmental
trajectory to the frequency and contexts in which tears
occur, in sadness and disappointment as well as joy and celebration?
Similarly, future research could examine continuity and
change over time (historically) in norms for acceptable displays
of masculine emotion. Cross-cultural data will also be important.
Does the intersection of sport, masculinity, and tears operate
similarly in non-Western cultures? Finally, future research
could investigate important moderating variables related to how
male athletes’ tears are perceived by others. Experimental
research on this topic could help to examine, for example, which
factors (e.g., past crying behavior, game performance) are
important in determining whether male athletes’ tears are evaluated
positively or negatively.
Conclusion
Through examination of gender and emotion research, as well
as images of prominent male professional athletes, it is clear
that the expression of emotion is an accepted and even essential
component of performing masculinity, despite popular beliefs to
the contrary. Although emotion stereotypes and discourses of
masculinity in both the professional sports context and society
more broadly emphasize the importance of inexpressivity,
seemingly above all else, the prized position of male athletes
such as Derek Loville who cry “correctly” indicate that these
beliefs do not capture the nuances of how emotion is actually
constructed and performed within hegemonic masculinity. As
prototypes of ideal manliness, male athletes enact manly emotion
on a public stage, but what is seen here can be applied to
men in many other contexts. The presence of passionate, controlled
emotion, rather than the complete absence of emotion,
portrays ideal masculinity. So yes, there is crying in baseball, as
well as in other competitive sports—and it is likely to be around
for some time to come.
MacArthur & Shields Male Athletes, Tears, and Masculinity 45
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