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A&S Research Proposal Template

(total word count no more than 1500; Chicago Style mandatory):

Name: Rachel Nugent
Title of the Project: Call Us Dykes on Spikes
Part 1: Aims
In recent years, I have been exposed to a lot of social media movements in trying to
eliminate stereotypes and judgments of others. I like to believe that these movements have been
semi-successful in accomplishing some of those things. However, I feel as though there is a
particular permanence to stereotypes of the people in the LGBT community. In my project, I will
look into the origin of the stereotypes that are made about women in sports and homosexual
women. Further than that, I seek to understand and speculate why these stereotypes still exist in
the modern day.
Part 2: Background
To understand how the two sides of this project come together, I used the link of the
assumption of masculinity. Both female homosexuality and athletics have been labeled as
masculine things, despite the fact that femininity can be found present in both. To further
understand the connection, I have to understand the history behind both ideas separately.
In the mid- to late-1800s, people viewed homosexuality as the reversal or inversion of the
two accepted genders. Lesbians were masculine women and gays were effeminate men. The idea
that a woman was attracted to another woman went against the accepted social norms and so they
understood the idea as a woman expressing masculinity. This idea carried through to the early1900s and ideas similar to it exist even today with the current butch lesbian stereotype that we
The idea that sports are thought of as traditionally masculine is fairly commonly
accepted, I think. When I was young, I was signed up for piano lessons and dance classes while
my brother went out to play baseball and basketball and soccer. The history of sports follows
along a similar pattern. At the beginning of most sports, women were simply not allowed to play.
For example, the NBA was founded in 1946. The WNBA was not founded until fifty years later
in 1996. Similarly, the NCAA was founded in 1906 but the womens tournament was not
developed until 1988. Even further back than that, the Olympics in Ancient Greece existed for
men to compete as a show of which city-state was more powerful and more athletic, more
Masculinity is the connection between the two sides of the stereotype; women who are
homosexual are masculine. Women who play sports are also masculine; therefore, they must be
Part 3: Argument and Significance
I always find it amusing when people assume my sexuality when I tell them I play
softball. I choose to find it amusing rather than offensive because there is really no point to the
latter. However, I have always wondered why this stereotype came about. Everyone is constantly
being judged by others and having labels put upon them. I choose to research this particular topic
because its so relevant to my life.

My generation is nearly obsessed with attempting to create a world that is free of

stereotypes, judgments and labels. They seek to break binaries and molds. I believe this specific
work is important because it will add to that ideal. Examining the issue of stereotypes of women
in sports in relation to the women of the LGBT community will allow people to see how they
became connected and how we might begin to disconnect them.
The real question is Why do these stereotypes still exist today?
Understanding the answer or possible answers to this question is the foundation of how
we can move forward in eliminating stereotypes and creating a new view of women in sports that
better reflects all aspects of the women involved.
Part 4: Project Design/Methods/Results
I plan to look into current professional female athletes and gather statistics on how many
of them openly identify as homosexual; this will be to see how much of the stereotype someone
could argue is based in truth. I will also look thoroughly into the history of sports and how the
idea of masculinity became so fully engrained into athletics. The history of how women came
into the world of sports will also be incredibly important. With this information, I plan to draw
my own conclusions about why and how these stereotypes still exist in our world today.
Part 5: Literature Cited
Angie. "Lesbians & Sports." (Her-Self, Nov. 1973) 3. Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity.
Web. 3 Mar. 2016.
Colleges and Universities: Yale University, April 27, 1978-October 28, 1989 and undated. April
27, 1978-October 28, 1989; n.d. MS Gay Rights Movement, Series 7. Lesbian Herstory
Archives. Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.
Griffin, Pat, "Strong Women, Deep Closets: Homophobia and Lesbians in Sports," (Sojourner,
June 1996) 11. Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.
Rothblum, Esther, "Dyke Psyche: Lesbians and Sports," (Woman Space, June 1998) 7. Archives
of Human Sexuality and Identity. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.