Blazing a New Trail: The Role of Communication Technology in Women’s Mountain Biking

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Women’s experiences in largely male sporting worlds often include marginalization and patronizing attitudes that can make participants unwelcome. Yet some women describe positive, liberating experiences in these sports. How do these women negotiate a largely male sport? What strategies do they employ to craft supportive communities? Based on interviews with 60 mountain bikers and email correspondence with an additional 98 bikers, along with results from a global survey of over 2,300 bikers, this paper examines women’s strategies for creating communities in which they can fully participate. The research uncovers the important role of communication technologies. While media practices can promote the celebration of risk-taking and aggression, they also provide a platform for talking back and building an alternative, supportive community.

McCormack (Mccormack_karen@wheatoncollege.edu) is an associate professor of sociology, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.

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