(SWET)ing for the Summit: A Feminist Cultural-Studies Analysis of Singapore's First Women's Mount Everest Team

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 University of Utah
  • 2 California State University, Long Beach
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This article is a feminist cultural-studies analysis of Singapore’s first all-female mountaineering team to successfully summit Mount Everest. A feminist cultural-studies approach was used to explore the highly male hegemonic domain of mountaineering and the ways in which the Singapore Women’s Everest Team (SWET) was situated within the sport and their local Singapore culture. Qualitative, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with six elite-level Singaporean female mountaineers (ages 25 to 39) were conducted by the first author in January 2009, before their attempt to summit Mount Everest. Using inductive analysis and feminist deconstruction, several salient themes emerged from the data: (a) disrupting norms, (b) sexism in extreme sports, and (c) women-centered spaces. The interviewees demonstrated unity as an all-women team as they overcame challenges in their pursuit of climbing Mount Everest. This study attempts to expand the sport studies literature with multicultural and gendered perspectives of female mountaineers.

Tan Leng Goh University of Utah E-mail: tanleng.goh@utah.edu Phone: (801)581-7558

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