“Female Energy at the Rock”: A Feminist Exploration of Female Rock Climbers

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Karen M. ApplebyIdaho State University

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Leslee A. FisherUniversity of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Rock climbing has been traditionally defined as a “masculine” sport (Young, 1997). The experiences of women in this sport have rarely been studied. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of high-level female rock climbers. Qualitative analysis of interviews with eight high-level female climbers (ages 19 to 30 years) revealed three general themes: (a) compliance to hegemonic gender norms, (b) questioning hegemonic gender norms, and (c) resisting hegemonic gender norms. A discussion and analysis of these themes suggests that these female rock climbers engaged in a process of negotiated resistance as they attained a climbing identity, gained acceptance into the climbing subculture, and increased performance in the sport of rock climbing.

Karen M. Appleby Idaho State University Sport Science and Physical Education Campus Box 8105 Pocatello, ID 83209-8105 Email: applkare@isu.edu Phone: (208) 282-5614 Fax: (208) 282-4654

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