Of the three introductions below, which is the best response to the essay question: "Discuss gender representations in sport"?
Example 1: Gender representations in sport are constantly evolving as cultural perceptions of men and women change. Sport is a major representation of culture, and different cultures play sport differently, particularly in regards to which gender is more culturally accepted to play certain sports. Countries such as England, for example, are well-known for their love of cricket. However, there is a significantly higher percentage of men than women playing cricket. Other sports, such as tennis and basketball, are more balanced in their representations of both genders, at least in Western Countries.
Example 2: Gender representations play a significant role in how and why we watch sport. Some sports should only be played by men, and other sports only by women.
Example 3: Throughout history there have been significant developments in gender representations in and outside of the media, particularly in sport. Views of men and women have considerably changed, particularly in recent times, though there are still some stereotypical views on how sport should be played and by whom. These views often differ between cultural contexts, as different cultures have different views on what constitutes femininity or masculinity. These views are very stereotypical, which according to Holliday, Hyde and Kullman, can often be “infected by prejudice, which in turn leads to Othering” (2010, 25). Views of men and women in sport are commonly very essentialist, judging them by their assumed dominant traits, rather than by individual ability. This essay aims to demonstrate these stereotypical representations within the media, focusing on the differences in portrayals of male and female athletes in Australia and Central America. This argument will be explored by comparing the representations of both genders and cultures in various sports, using examples from documents such as articles and visual media.
(i) Example 1 discusses the essay question generally, but without supporting its argument. General statements such as "there is a significantly higher percentage of men than women playing cricket" require supporting information such as quotes or statistics from credible sources in order to strengthen the essay argument. This example also does not provide a thesis statement of what the main argument of the essay will be.
(ii) Example 2 presents a biased view of the author, without providing sufficient evidence to back their argument. If their thesis statement is that "some sports should only be played by men, and others only by women", they would need to demonstrate sound evidence to support that notion. The introduction also does not contain enough sentences to constitute a paragraph (typically at least four), which would include an explanation, evidence and examples. Cohesive paragraphs are still a requirement in essay exams.
(iii) Example 3 is a strong example of an essay introduction, including an explanation of the essay topic, supporting evidence from a credible source (in this case one of the unit readings), and a thesis statement. In this introduction the student has provided a citation for the source they have quoted; however, you should check with your tutor whether this is necessary in your exam. Your argument will always be stronger if backed up with quotes and examples from credible sources. In this example the thesis statement is: "Views of men and women in sport are commonly very essentialist, judging them by their assumed dominant traits, rather than by individual ability".