Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports

Robyn Ryle (Author)


This book uses the world of sports in order to reveal the complicated history of gender, sexuality, race, and social justice while connecting those stories to today's athletes. It highlights the ways sports often contribute to inequalities, but also how they can help make the world more accepting. Have you ever wondered why most cheerleaders are girls? It didn't used to be that way. Up until the early twentieth century, all cheerleaders were actually boys. And why do some athletes, like Caster Semenya, have to prove they're women while there's no testing for men? Why do athletes like Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick use sports as a platform for social justice, and should they? These questions and more are examined in Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy: The Evolution of Gender, Identity, and Race in Sports. Robyn Ryle uses the world of sports to examine the history, controversy, and current conversations around sexuality, race, and social justice, bringing in the stories of today's athletes to highlight where things stand in the present. Topics covered include gender segregation, gender testing, transgender athletes, sexuality, homophobia, globalization, race, and activism. Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy shows the great strides that have been made in the sports world recently, but there are still questions that remain and work that needs to be done. This book brings to attention the ways in which sports can contribute to inequalities, while also demonstrating how sports can help create a more just world for everyone.

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
June 29, 2020
6.1 X 0.8 X 9.1 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Robyn Ryle is a sociologist, writer, and sports fan who has taught about gender, race, and sexuality to college students for twenty years. Her previous books include She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters and Binary Resisters and Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. She lives in Madison, Indiana.


Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy offers a historically acute, narrative-driven sociological account of males and females in organized sport. It weaves a narrative of where sport has been, where it is, and where it is going, in prose that is easy to read and engaging. It is, above all, a riveting and intellectual endeavor. This is perfect reading for anyone interested in sport, gender, and sexuality.--Eric Anderson, professor of sport, health, and social sciences, University of Winchester
Ryle gives readers a thoughtful, comprehensive look at sport's past and present, while skillfully unpacking the pressing discussions that will influence its future. A fascinating and illuminating compendium of the vital issues facing sports culture today.--Stacey May Fowles, award-winning novelist, journalist, and essayist and author of the bestseller Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me
In a climate that is relentlessly hostile towards transgender and intersex people, books like this are needed to set the record straight and continue advocating for inclusion of diverse people in sport and beyond. Brilliant and thought-provoking read that cuts through the misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding transgender and intersex people in sport.--Owl and Fox Fisher, directors of My Genderation