“Their Bottoms Are the Wrong Shape” Female Jockeys and the Theory of Established Outsider Relations

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Philippa VelijaYork St John University

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Leah FlynnYork St John University

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This paper adopts Elias’ theory of established and outsider relations (Elias and Scotson, 1994) to argue that women riders are “outsiders” within the racing figuration. The paper draws on data collected from eight semi-structured interviews with experienced female jockeys. It is suggested by the authors that female jockeys remain outsiders within the racing figuration in the UK. In particular, female jockeys are largely resigned to their inferior position as their views of male jockeys remain deeply ingrained in stereotypes about gender. The increasing organizational changes that have allowed women to be a part of the Jockey Club, be granted licenses, train and compete alongside males do not appear to have changed attitudes toward female jockeys, who are largely perceived as weaker and less capable than male jockeys.

The authors are with York St John University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York, United Kingdom

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