Gendered Role Reversal project
Explain your act: (a) what did you do; (b) where did you do it; and (c) how did you prepare. For my gender role reversal project, I decided to play flag football with my husband’s (all male) Navy command. His command has physical training 3 times per week, with one of those days being a sport day. The division decides between flag football, basketball, soccer or baseball each week. The group meets at one of the open fields on the base here in Norfolk near the gym. I had to get “permission” from his division in order to do this assignment. At first, they laughed, but when my husband told them briefly what it was for, they allowed me to participate. To prepare, I had to read up on football because I know very little about this sport. I also had to get my husband to tell me the “rules” that they play with. I also thought about what I would wear and if I should do my hair and make-up as I normally do. I decided to wear just a t-shirt and pair of loose-fitting, basketball type shorts. My hair was just pulled back and I did wear make-up, but only a mild amount (foundation, light blush, light eye-shadow, and lip gloss). What responses did you receive while performing your act?
When it was brought up to my husband’s division that I wanted to play flag football with them, most of them laughed. Most of his division knows me, and they know that I am not fond of sports. Add in the fact that I’m 5 ft 1 inch tall and all of them are 5 ft 9 inches and taller, and they found it humorous that I would want to participate in this game with them. A few of the men were even “afraid” that I would get hurt, because even though it’s flag football, they can get rowdy. After giving them a full reason as to why I wanted to play, they finally agreed. It did take some convincing though.
During the actual game, I could tell that most of the men were “avoiding” me. They rarely passed me the ball and it was almost like I wasn’t there. I wasn’t given an actual position to play, they just told me to try to keep up. The turning point in the game was during the 3rd quarter. I was given the ball, and much to everyone’s surprise (even my own) I threw the ball to another teammate over 50 yards with perfect precision. Everyone was amazed that I had such a good arm. The rest of the game, I ended up playing “quarterback” and I did it very well! As the game went on, it seemed that everyone was more comfortable with me being there, and I became more comfortable with being the only female there. How did you feel while performing your act?
In the beginning, I was terrified. I was nervous because I’d never played before and I was a little self-conscious about playing a new sport with all males. When the game began, I felt ignored and a little like I wasn’t wanted there. I felt like I needed to prove myself to these men in order to feel welcomed in the game. After I was able to prove myself to the men on the teams, I felt a little more at ease and they made me feel more welcome. I think the longer we played, the more we got along and we ended up having a lot of fun. What would you do differently, if you had to do this again? Discuss this question in terms of how you operationalized your act, in other words would you perform the act in the same location, same time, would you change your appearance during the act etc. Please refer to the required reading for this assignment Mack et.al. (2005). The link to that reading can be found in the syllabus.
If I had the opportunity to do this experiment over again, I think I would only change a few things. Operationally, I did not fully discuss with the teams why I was there. I did tell them that I was doing an experiment for school but I did not tell them what kind of experiment. In their minds, I was just infringing on their physical fitness game time. They didn’t know if I was doing an experiment on myself or on them. In retrospect, this might have been why they were not very