Hyper Masculinity Source of the Toxic Sports Universe

Hyper Masculinity: Source of the Toxic Sports Universe

Rocked by testimonies about the brutal and humiliating initiations uncovered this week, experts questioned The newspaper point to the hypermasculinity of the sports world as a deep source of problems.

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“You have to be outraged by these testimonies because there is a real macho culture behind all of this. Now that it’s hockey, people are finally getting interested in the sport’s toxic culture,” thundered Joëlle Carpentier, PhD in psychology and professor in UQAM’s School of Management Sciences.

The script of masculinity is rooted in the roots of sport.

“In hockey, a locker room is a micro-society that values ​​exaggerated masculinity. Men’s qualities are valued and women’s are devalued, explains researcher and psychologist Dominique Trottier, professor at the University of Quebec in Outaouais. The culture of sport is permeated with it, making it tolerant of sexist values ​​and sexual violence. »

Abuse, abuse and co.

As in a pack, the oldest and strongest sit at the top of the group hierarchy. The youngest and weakest are dominated and could later become the dominants in this vicious circle.

Researchers have long been interested in group dynamics and problems in sports. The phenomena of initiation, intimidation and violence have increased over the past 50 years.

In 1999, Alfred University in New York conducted a national study of sports rituals in the NCAA. Of approximately 325,000 athletes surveyed, more than 250,000 said they had undergone an initiation rite.

Of these, 20% of the athletes had suffered illegal acts such as kidnapping, beating or destruction of property. Almost 50% were involved in slip-ups involving alcohol and humiliating gestures.

dr Linda S. Pagani, a professor in the School of Psychoeducation at the University of Montreal, has found different behaviors depending on gender. “For boys, the compulsions are more direct and physically violent. In girls, these actions are indirect and psychological. »


according to dr Pagani, Hazing is relevant in sports when it is positive and inviting. “But the activity is often obscure and unfortunately we see high rates of dominance and abuse of power,” she notes.

“In this rite, a hierarchy is established,” continues Dr. Trot away. New players will see that they don’t have the same status. In order to humiliate them, they are sexually humiliated, stripped of their power and manhood. We attack their masculinity. »

according to dr Trottier isn’t going to change the culture of the sport, especially hockey, any time soon, especially if it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. “People in positions of authority need to have a moral and ethical sense to take the lead,” she stresses.

dr Pagani encourages people to report wrongdoing. She would also like to see the establishment of a truly impartial system for the integrity of sport.

“We don’t want a sports organization to behave like the Vatican,” she concludes.

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