Pick any group of people and you’re bound to run into stereotypes: White guys can’t dance, women can’t drive, Buffalo Rising writers are studs with the ladies. You know, stereotypes. Most of the time, stereotypes are negative and offensive and reinforced by the occasional behavior of only a few members, ruining other people’s perception of the entire group. Such is true for athletes stereotyped by the term “jock.” UB’s Kathleen E. Miller Ph.D conducted a study with 581 students who identified themselves as having an organized sports background.
Only 18 percent of these students strongly identified with the term “jock.” 55 percent preferred to be identified as an “athlete,” and strongly rejected the “jock” label, and were twice as likely to reject such a label. The results suggest that the term “jock” may represent a small group of troubled athletes whose perception of self may lead to high-risk behaviors like drug use and unsafe sex.
The “toxic jock,” as they’re labeled, are also prone to self-centered behavior and measured success by comparing themselves to others while the self-described athlete preferred mastery of skills and personal excellence. The “jock” also strongly identified with masculine attitudes towards winning, risk-taking, violence, sex, and dominance, while athletes only strongly identified with winning but rejected “playboy” attitudes about sex and were neutral about risk-taking, violence and dominance.
The point is, don’t blame ALL athletes for getting shoved into your locker.