Fighting against gender stereotypes

By Bruno G. Santos, in News · 24-07-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

History, culture and tradition have all worked to create gender stereotypes in Portugal, particularly in sport.

Reading world history, it is easy to understand that a women’s role was basically to cherish their husbands, take care of children and do the chores. Men were the head of the house and had to be respected and be honoured by their wife and children.

Portugal always had gender inequality issues, probably influenced by the extreme right-wing dictatorship for 40 years from 1926 to 1974. Following Catholic rules, António Oliveira de Salazar, the Portuguese dictator that established Estado Novo, created a trilogy of moral values “Deus, Pátria, Família” (God, Homeland, Family).

In that time, women would learn to do household chores and how to manage house bills. Some little girls did not go to school because their dads thought that it was not necessary for a girl to know how to read and write as long as they could take care of a house and educate their children. On the other hand, men were seen as the ex-libris of intelligence. They were mentally and physically strong and capable of dealing with personal and family problems, without even suffering, because they were men.

Women were seen, for a long time in Portugal, as the fragile gender and this idea still remains in the Portuguese society.

APAV is a Portuguese association that protects domestic violence victims. The association sent a report to The Portugal News of victims registered in 2019. In total there were 11.676 victims. 80 percent of the victims were women and more than 60 percent of the crimes’ authors were men. Usually, the authors of the crime are the women’s husbands, but in some cases parents, daughters and sons also manifest violent behaviours towards the victims. According to the report, 57.9 percent of the violent behaviours happen in a continuous way.

A feminist wave has been trying to fight against domestic violence. Capazes is a Portuguese feminist association that states on their website that they are trying to “contribute to the adoption of legislative, regulatory and administrative measures, which guarantee the defence of these same rights, calling on the whole civil society.”

Not just Capazes, but other feminist associations try to fight against a misogynistic society. Schools are also teaching their students to respect all the genders and trying to erase gender stereotypes, that are not suitable in our society anymore.

In sports, the situation is no different. Football, for instance, was always seen as a sport for men. Even with the existence of many female football teams, the media and the population pay more attention to male football teams, almost ignoring the female players that have created so many accolades for Portugal.

On 15 July an Internet conversation called “Sport in High-Heals” (Desporto em Saltos Altos) took place. The conversation was attended by four Portuguese women related to sports. Elisabete Jacinto, driver, Ticha Penicheiro, former basketball player, Marina Frutuoso de Melo, rider and the director of the Portuguese Football Federation Mónica Jorge.

According to Elisabete Jacinto, Portuguese society is “very marked by the stereotype […] that girls were educated with the idea that this or that task is not within our reach.” The athlete admitted that for years she felt “the weight” of thinking that she was “doing something for which I had no capacity.” Elisabete used “dedication and commitment” to prove that besides being a woman, she was capable of achieving a good result. The driver “overcame immense barriers”, to be able to convince herself that she was capable.

Ticha Penicheiro has a wider view when comes to gender inequality. For her “it is sad” to see that the male chauvinist mentality remains and women are seen with an appetite for some tasks and in which her participation in others is not seen naturally. She concludes stating that the problem does not only exist in sports, “but in society in general.”

The former athlete is now a sports agent who admits she never experienced gender discrimination while practising sports, but some online comments that she went through bothered her and made her think that women “should encourage the new generation […] to continue to fight and be successful.”

Ticha Penicheiro played basketball for 15 years at WNBA. She started practising in the male team in Figueira da Foz due to the non-existence of a female team. She always wanted to “show that girls can also play”, pushing “against the tide.”

Marina Frutuoso de Melo is a horse rider, a mixed sport. She affirmed that her first seven victories in the national championship were seen as a surprise, but the following victories were seen as normal.

According to data from the Portuguese Olympic Committee in 2013, there were more than 15,000 male referees while there were less than 3,000 female referees. The same report explains that the struggles women have been facing, when it comes to practising sports, is related to the created model of sports in which a womans presence was not seen as necessary.

The same report praises social media for gradually promoting women’s role in sports. Although female athletes still face problems that male athletes do not go through. While men are praised for their results and achievements, women do not escape to aesthetic appreciations that are not related to the sport they are practising. However, social media still prefers to publish news about male athletes due to public interest, corroborating the idea that Portuguese society is still a male chauvinist society.

Meanwhile, Portugal was considered one of the most gay-friendly touristic destinations by Spartacus International Gay Guide. However, ILGA Portugal stills receives reports of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. In this case men are the ones who suffer more discrimination. It is known that most gay men that practise any kind of sports stay “in the closet” until the end of their sporting career, just to avoid experiencing homophobia.

Homosexuality was considered to be a crime, in Portugal, until 1982. Once again, the dictatorship created a homophobic wave that still has effects in Portugal. The discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community is still a reality and athletes suffer from this too.

A gay rugby team, called Dark Horses, has been created in Portugal. People assume that gay men will not feel interested in playing sports like rugby, stated Luis Rhode Baião, president of the Sport Association Boys Just Wanna Have Fun Sports Club (BJWHF) in an interview with Tribuna Expresso.

Rugby was the first sport in Portugal to have a gay team, but the idea quickly spread to other types of sports such as football and swimming.

Luís Rhodes Baião mentioned that discrimination also happens among the community, not essentially through homophobic behaviour, but racism is also a reality within the scope of team sports.

The president of BJWHF says that the aim of this sport’s team is to prove that everyone is equal, independently of their sexual orientation.
According to ILGA Portugal report, in 2018, gay men were the ones who made more reports to the association regarding hate crime situations. Corresponding to 37.02 percent of the registered cases.

Sources: Lusa News, APAV, Portuguese Olympic Committee


It's an easy thing to solve these days. Just stop worrying about healthy lifestyle and buy all the food products on offer without trying to find natural ingredients. Soon you will not have to worry about genders as you wont even have a humanity capable of reproduction.

By Kari Lehto from Other on 26-07-2020 01:18
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