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Living and Embracing Intersectionality in Sport: Introduction to the Special Issue Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

Hannah Bennett, Robert Owens, and Tanya Prewitt-White

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“They Do Not Represent Our Gym”: How CrossFit Affiliates Define Community as They Respond to Racial Controversy

Shaun Edmonds, Nancy L. Malcom, Christina M. Gipson, and Hannah Bennett

Following the racist comments of the then CEO and CrossFit co-founder Greg Glassman concerning the murder of George Floyd, CrossFit affiliates took to social media to repudiate his statements. Throughout their social media posts, these affiliates struggled with their relationship to the CrossFit brand, the imagined CrossFit community, and the community formed in their local box. Using qualitative thematic analysis of CrossFit affiliates’ Facebook and Instagram posts made during June 2020, we find that the affiliates had a range of responses that included silence, reconsideration of their affiliate status, and social activism. Furthermore, we find that the affiliates’ focus on (re)defining community served to deflect from deeper discussions of systemic racism within CrossFit and the CrossFit community.

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Negotiating the Funhouse: CrossFit Women and the Looking Glass Athlete

Nancy L. Malcom, Shaun Edmonds, Christina Gipson, Caitlyn Hauff, and Hannah Bennett

While there have been dramatic increases in women’s participation in sport and physical activity following the implementation of Title IX in the United States, many women still face challenges negotiating societal expectations of femininity with the muscularity developed through exercise. In this study, the authors used focus group interviews with 47 women who participate in CrossFit to explore how female athletes understand their developing athletic identity through social interactions. Even as the participants expressed high levels of self-confidence and personal growth, which they attributed to their instrumental involvement with CrossFit, their discussions of what other people think of their nontraditional fitness activities and concomitant body changes were a constant source of frustration. Using the identity-building framework of Cooley’s theory of the looking glass self, the authors find that women are faced with not merely reflections, but distorted funhouse mirrors; reflections that are heavily warped by gendered patriarchal societal norms. Surrounded by an array of potentially confusing and distracting “funhouse” mirrors, these female athletes used CrossFit’s local and expanded community, as well as their own burgeoning self-efficacy, to navigate their changing bodies and identities.