Although previous researchers have described dimensions of women sportswriters’ locker room experiences or theoretically explored the challenge their presence poses to hegemonic masculinity, they have failed to adequately consider how they give meaning to their locker room encounters. Based on 33 in-depth interviews, participation at five Association for Women in Sports Media conventions and an analysis of published locker room stories, I determined the interpretive frameworks women sportswriters use to understand their experiences. Further, I show how emotional and physical reactions are profoundly influenced by the ways in which these women sportswriters categorize specific interactions. Despite the media and research focus on problematic “incidents”, I demonstrated that many male-female locker room interactions are positive or, at least, unproblematic. However, the continued salience of the locker room as a site supporting hegemonic masculinity is revealed in women sportswriters’ interpretations of the locker room as an always potentially threatening space.
Fabrice Desmarais and Toni Bruce
This article explores how local pressures intersect to produce differing broadcasts in 2 cultural contexts. This is achieved via a cross-cultural analysis of a decade of televised rugby union matches between France and New Zealand and interviews with leading commentators in both countries. The authors argue that although the overarching commercial imperative to capture audiences might be the same in both countries, and despite global tendencies toward homogenized presentation of sports events, there are local differences in expectations about which kinds of audiences should be captured, and these lead to different practices and emphases in the live broadcasts. The authors suggest that in each country, broadcasts are the result of a complex set of pressures that interact to produce broadcasts with “local” flavor and characteristics.
Amanda Cosgrove and Toni Bruce
In the face of growing scholarly concern about whiteness, and following Denzin’s (1996) argument that “those who control the media control a society’s discourses about itself” (p. 319), it becomes vital to interrogate and map what is at stake in specific representations of whiteness that gain purchase and mobilize the nation in shared ways. In death, America’s Cup sailor and adventurer Sir Peter Blake was held up as a New Zealand hero representative of a “true” national character. We argue that in the context of marked changes in the racial, political, and economic landscape of New Zealand, Blake’s unexpected death represented an important moment in the symbolic (re)production of historically dominant but increasingly contested notions of national character that are synonymous with white masculinity. We conclude that, as long as the centrality of whiteness is under threat, we are likely to see the ongoing rearticulation of nostalgic visions of nationalism.
Holly Thorpe, Karen Barbour and Toni Bruce
In this paper we explore the potential of physical cultural studies for collaborative, interdisciplinary, theoretically-informed, reflexive research on the physically active female body. We use the metaphors of “wandering and wondering” to interrogate our experiences of movement within and across physical cultural fields and academic borders. Grounded in an ethnographic narrative approach, we revisit the ways in which different aspects of our identities were highlighted during our waka ama, snowboarding and basketball experiences. Drawing upon feminist readings of Bourdieu’s work, we challenged each other to reflect critically upon previously unquestioned or unexplored aspects of our subjectivities. While the paper focuses on the results of these discussions, we also offer insights into the collaborative process. Ultimately we argue that sharing narratives of our experiences and exploring them further with theory offers a good place to begin new interdisciplinary conversations that may push physical cultural studies research in new directions.
Montserrat Martin, Nancy Spencer and Toni Bruce
Feminists have long wrestled with the binary of gender difference in sport, employing diverse theoretical and empirical approaches to understand how difference is constructed, maintained and challenged. In this article, we engage with Jacques Derrida’s work on deconstruction and différance. Specifically, we engage with deconstruction’s double gesture in order to firstly identify, and later resist and disorganize the hierarchical oppositions of gender difference—masculine versus feminine. In particular, we are interested in the play of gender difference and différance as they emerge in a context that juxtaposes sportswomen’s engagement in divergent sites of physical activity—dancing and sport. We aim to demonstrate how deconstructing sportswomen’s performances on televised dance competitions contributes useful ideas to think about the feminine beyond an oppositional gender binary frame. To illustrate our theoretical discussion, we analyze female athletes’ performances on popular, transnational, televised, celebrity dancing competitions in Spain, the U.S. and New Zealand.