Sociology of Sexualities
Kathleen Fitzgerald and Kandice Grossman’s Sociology of Sexualities is the first comprehensive text to adopt a sociological perspective in the study of sexuality. Sexuality refers to a person’s sexual identity, experiences, and attraction which do not always align with gender and sex. It includes homosexuality, heterosexuality, queer, bisexuality, and so on. The study of sexuality differs from the biological approaches to sexuality, which contends that sexual expression arises from hormones and anatomy. Contemporary approaches to the study of sexuality hold that specific sexual behaviors and identities are discouraged and reinforced by culture and social institutions (Fitzgerald & Grossman, 2020). As such, contemporary theories operate under the notion that sexual identities, behaviors, and desires are socially constructed. Chapter seven (7) focuses on the influences of media on sexuality and sport. Additionally, it shows how stereotypes are constructed, leading to the exclusion of sexual minorities.
Mainstream media, including magazines, television, the internet, and music, increasingly frequently portray sexuality in society. The media is an essential tool in shaping young people’s understanding of sexuality as they develop an understanding of their sexual patterns and beliefs. Worth noting, schools and parents remain increasingly reluctant to talk about sexual topics with children. As a result, young people turn to mass media which negatively influences their perception of sexual behavior and beliefs. Media keeps sexual behavior on personal and public agendas, reinforcing a consistent set of relationship and sexual norms. Additionally, media rarely highlights sexually responsible models. As a result, young adolescents tend to interpret and incorporate what they see in the media into their sexual lives. Moreover, depending on the music genre, music videos often portray eroticism and sexuality. Even with the age restriction of Hollywood movies, young people manage to see them even before the age of 16. Although some magazines have reported increased coverage of sexual health matters in the last decade, the majorities still focus on what women and girls should do to keep their men. This reinforces heterosexuality as the accepted form of sexuality in society. Gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual individuals are rarely represented in mainstream media and when they do, only a few gay characters appear while the majorities are heterosexual.
As regards sport and sexuality, issues pertaining to gender-variant individuals have been at the centre of media spectacle. There is interdependence between sports institutions, advertising, and mass media. Worth noting, sports are mediated in that what viewers see is not what happens. Sportscasters often help create the experiences of their viewers and listeners by using camera angles. To control the narratives, they conceal some information and images concerning the game or specific athletes. Media broadcast stations often choose what air and only consider what is good for business. They air what they perceive will keep the audience tuned in. Male sports events tend to dominate broadcasting that reinforces ideas about masculinity and gender. Sports media reinforce the western understanding of masculinity by portraying male athletes and their bodies. Particularly sports broadcasts reinforce the images of the male body as a weapon, instrument, and object of the gaze. This excludes women by reinforcing men as sportspeople and not women. This gives the idea that since women are physically the weaker gender and are not masculine, they do not have a place in sports. As a result, sports are dominated by men and few women.
Fitzgerald, K. J., & Grossman, K. L. (2020). Sociology of sexualities. SAGE Publications.