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Christine Dallaire

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Steph MacKay and Christine Dallaire

The Skirtboarders, a Montreal-based crew of female skateboarders, purposely challenge discourses of femininity through an Internet skateboarding blog. Interviews with crew members reveal the similarity between their sporting and Internet practices and processes that Foucault (1986, p. 28) referred to as “self-formation as an ‘ethical subject’”. We draw on the four aspects that Foucault outlined by which an individual constitutes herself as an ethical subject—ethical substance, mode of subjection, ethical work and telos—to analyze the Skirtboarders’ reflexivity and critical engagement through their skateboarding blogging experiences. The results illustrate how sportswomen-driven forms of social media can become a means of individualized and collective ethical transformation.

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Kamiel Reid and Christine Dallaire

Soccer today represents the “game of choice” for women and girls in Canada. Because it has not been discursively constructed as a “male preserve” in the North American sport landscape in the same way it has elsewhere, the women’s game has grown dramatically, along with its favorable reputation in Canada, showcasing not only female talent as players, but also as match officials. Yet the low proportion of female soccer referees in Ontario exemplifies the continued challenge of ensuring that women reach all playing and non-playing positions. Drawn from our larger study intended to document Ontario women’s experiences as match officials, this article empirically illustrates how the “soccer referee” endures as a male- dominated subject that relegates women to the margins. Our research contributes to the scant number of studies on female soccer match officials by complicating this picture and showing that the “soccer referee” remains predominantly defined as masculine, even in a context where playing soccer is discursively constructed as gender-neutral. Our analysis highlights how the female soccer referee was constructed as an outsider by soccer players, coaches, and referees through stereotyping. Consequently, the women we interviewed described a variety of instances in which they were the focus of particular attention and, paradoxically, sidelined at the same time. Throughout her experiences on the pitch, the female soccer referee becomes aware of her marginalized status as she confronts normalized sexual discrimination, and may even come to internalize the sexism she faces.

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Christine Dallaire, Louise Lemyre, Daniel Krewski and Laura Beth Gibbs

In Canada, as in other neo-liberal states, a physically active lifestyle is discursively constructed as a moral activity, whereas a sedentary lifestyle is criticized as a failure to take charge of one’s health (Bercovitz, 2000; Lupton, 1997). This study aims to understand how Canadian men and women articulate the discursive connections between physical activity and health risks and how those connections are reflected in their reported behaviors. Analysis shows that some of the 37 men and 36 women interviewed not only “talk the talk” regarding physical activity, they also claim to lead an active lifestyle. However, “active” participants were disciplined into frequent physical activity not simply by the discursive effects of the fitness mantra promising better health, but because they enjoyed it. Conversely, the not-active-enough participants were unwilling to fully comply with the requirements of the fitness discourses because they found no pleasure in “exercise.” Despite adopting physical activity as a key strategy to manage their health risks, interviews revealed that the latter group were not docile bodies (Foucault, 1995).