The ideological and cultural approach towards sport has changed over time and must be linked with the changes in gender relations especially in the Western society. Therefore, the present paper brings to attention the relationship between men and exercise and discusses sport as an important practice for the cultural and physical construction of masculinity. The paper is a narrative analysis of the concept of sport and its socio-cultural significance over time, all presented in the context of gender relations. The analysis is based on information from European documents regarding sport and on statistical data at European level regarding the engagement of men and women in physical activities, with special attention paid to the case of Italy. Over time, the construction of masculinity has been subjected to many changes especially in Western Europe. Mainly, the transition was from the traditional dominant male figure, to the “new man”, interested in health and self-care. The social significance of sport has changed and participation in physical activity is no longer seen as a typical masculine practice being widely open to women as well. In this context, gender relations changed and masculinity now implies new dimensions.
Spallacci A. Sport, masculinity and gender relations. Balt J Health Phys Act. 2020;SpecIss(1):12-21. doi: 10.29359/BJHPA.12.Spec.Iss1.02