In tackling the concept of hegemonic femininity and masculinity, it is a must to first define its word meaning. The term ‘hegemonic’ was coined by sport aficionado and scholars Lenskyj in 1994 and Krane in 1999 to mean “the culturally idealized form of masculine character” (Connell, 1990, p. 83 as cited in Choi, 2000, p. 8). Basing from the definition, the term masculine serves a sexist form of discrimination as masculinity is regarded as an ideal attribute, and which “stabilizes a structure of dominance and oppression in the gender order as a whole” (Connell, 1990 as cited in Choi, 2000, p. 8). Hegemonic femininity is sort of a celebration of women’s other side of being a female athlete. Hegemonic femininity gives female athletes the necessary respect from the audience, sponsors, judges, and officials because female athletes who display solely the attributes of the males face a bitter taste of discrimination or negative treatment from these people (Choi, 2000). In displaying hegemonic femininity, female athletes usually wear something that can emphasize their feminine side or sport a boyfriend or husband during a game (Choi, 2000).
On one hand, Messerschmidt (1993) defines hegemonic masculinity as the “idealized form of masculinity.” This is a simplified form of Connell’s elaboration and classification of hegemonic masculinity as the superior level of masculinity wherein only few can have the chance to achieve, that is why there is this so-called “subordinated masculinities” (Giddens & Griffiths, 2006, p. 465). Culturally, hegemonic masculinity is “honored, glorified, and extolled” (Colonell, 1990 as cited in Messerschmidt, 1993, p. 82). Just like femininity, hegemonic masculinity creates a structure that categorizes this idealized masculinity as belonging on the topmost portion of the ranking while those below it are considered weak and are thereby oppressed (Messerschmidt, 1993).