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A Game Against Patriarchy: Female Athletes in Challenging the Hierarchy

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DOI: 10.25236/eiemss.2022.005


Julie He

Corresponding Author

Julie He


Gender equality and feminism in athletics has long been a debated topic for scholars and researchers. However, not many look at the effects of female athletes in this male-dominated arena. In this paper, I explore how female participation in athletics can serve as a challenge to the patriarchy, a value system which men hold dominance. I take on the position that female athletes can provide a different avenue towards feminism where feminist theorists can not. Female athletes are also feminists in that their very participation, and success in the area, act as physical confutation toward’s patriarchy’s ideologies of male superiority. I start by providing context through defining terms such as the patriarchy and gender in order to introduce my argumentation. I move on to explore females under the patriarchy and more specifically how female athletes are subjugated. I use other research papers and sources to explain the tautological argument of patriarchy and disprove their ideologies. I then review mainstream feminists and their limits. Finally, I explain how female athletes are feminists that can challenge the hegemony and work with feminist theorists. I also offer propositions and alterations that could make the athletic world a more level playing field. I aim to direct the paper towards the average individual who lives under the influence of patriarchy but may not be aware of the extent of its impact or its existence at all. I hope to educate people in order to raise awareness for gender equality in athletics.


Patriarchy; Feminism; Tautology; Athletics; Gender; Female Athletes; Hierarchy