Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with 10 college-level female bodybuilders, this paper focuses on several aspects of female bodybuilding that are underexplored in existing literature, including purposeful gender transgressions, gender attribution, racialized bodies, and the conflation of sex, gender, and sexual preference. We draw on critical feminist theory and the social constructionist perspective to enhance collective understanding of the subversive possibilities emerging from female bodybuilders’ lived experience. Collectively, female bodybuilders’ experiences affect somatic and behavioral gender norms in a wider Western-type industrialized society such as the United States.
Shelly A. McGrath and Ruth A. Chananie-Hill
Ruth A. Chananie-Hill, Jennifer J. Waldron, and Natalie K. Umsted
This study examines how women’s flat-track roller derby transcends traditional feminist models of sport and reflects contradictory third-wave feminist ideologies. The authors propose a third-wave feminist model of sport that reflects a mix of contradictory third-wave social justice and (post)feminist ideologies, such as individualistic dynamics of gendered and sexual expression, gender maneuvering, inclusiveness, concern for social justice, commercialization, spectacle, and stealth feminism. Using a qualitative content analysis of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association league web sites, the authors apply the model to investigate how and to what extent the new derby reflects their model. This analysis yields four interrelated themes: (1) stealth feminism through alternative sport, (2) social justice and inclusiveness, (3) rebelling and reflecting identity performances, and (4) violent action chicks. The study concludes by exploring implications of the third-wave model of sport and women’s flat-track roller derby for the transformation of sport and the empowerment of women.