The Ultimate Lesbian?

Ultimate Frisbee is not a main stream sport that is widely talked about or seen on TV. A fair amount of people in America, or anywhere else for that matter, don’t know much about the sport or have ever seen the sport played. Because of the sport’s lack of popularity, the stereotypes associated with ultimate frisbee are not recognized by the common person. Ultimate Frisbee is not on the same popular level like sports such as football or softball, where people who don’t play or really watch the sport are able to point out stereotypes that are circulated.

Among people who do know the sport, women ultimate players are stereotyped as masculine and lesbian, like many other sports that have women participants (basketball, softball, rugby etc.). I would argue that most, if not all, ultimate players involved on a college club team are aggressive players and aggressiveness is associated as a masculine trait. What also perpetuates this masculine stereotype is that many ultimate players wear basketball shorts. It should be noted that not all players wear these shorts, some women wear shorter shorts or skirts as well. However, according to teammates that I have talked to, good amount players wear basketball shorts (generally knee length or a little higher). Ultimate players are also known for wearing hats or headbands, which is also seen as masculine – especially when these hats are generally worn backwards. This masculinity that the sport and the players portray welcomes the assumption that women ultimate players are lesbian. Although this is true in some cases, not all women who play are lesbian even though their masculine attire and aggressiveness would lead people to believe that. The “typical” ultimate player is at the college age, and wears basketball shorts and a backwards hat or headband.

In terms of my own relationship to the popular or “typical” type, I sort of embody it in terms of my attire as I do wear the longer shorts but I do not wear a hat or headband. When I first started I had a hard time wanting to wear the longer shorts because of the masculinity associated with it, but as the weeks passed I began not to care about how “masculine” I looked because the shorts are comfortable. Because one looks or wears masculine attire does not necessarily mean that they are lesbian – a concept that is prevalent in mainstream culture.

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One Response to The Ultimate Lesbian?

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    You do a good job noticing the role of fashion in popular interpretations of gender and sexuality. This is worth investigating further, as clothing shapes the body, a key marker for gender and sexuality. I’d enjoy hearing a bit more about why and how you see lesbianism associated with masculinity. This association is a great example of ideology worth unpacking.

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