This paper explores how feminism can be used in sport psychology research and the particular dilemmas that can present themselves when a feminist perspective is used within the framework of sport psychology. Both authors describe their personal entrées into various schools of feminism, the ways they incorporate feminist theory into their work, and the struggles they have encountered in using feminist approaches in a field that is not always open to feminist epistemology. This paper includes a description of several types of feminist thought. Both authors use feminist theory in research that concerns women at either end of the life span, specifically girls and older women, and the ways that members of these groups think about and relate to their bodies. While feminism has been an important, useful, and enlightening perspective and tool for both authors, it has also proven problematic within the context of sport psychology research. The dilemmas encountered are described as epistemological and methodological and discussed in the context of personal experiences from both authors.
Tamar Z. Semerjian and Jennifer J. Waldron
Emily A. Roper
In this paper, I will briefly describe my ongoing feminist journey and the significance and meaning of aligning myself with feminism. Additionally, I will discuss my feminist perspective, mainly feminist cultural studies, and how this framework informs my sport psychological research and practice. Lastly, I will discuss the potential of a feminist approach for broadening what it means to be a “sport psychologist.”
Diane L. Gill
Feminist sport psychology encompasses many approaches and has many variations. The articles in this special issue reflect that variation but also reflect common themes outlined in this introductory article. The feminist framework for this article begins with bell hooks’ (2000) inclusive, action-oriented definition of feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (p. viii). The following themes, drawn from feminist theory and sport studies scholarship, provide the supporting structure: (a) gender is relational rather than categorical; (b) gender is inextricably linked with race/ethnicity, class, and other social identities; (c) gender and cultural relations involve power and privilege; and (d) feminism demands action. Gender scholarship in sport psychology is reviewed noting recent moves toward feminist approaches and promising directions that incorporate cultural diversity and relational analyses to move toward feminist practice. The other articles in this issue reflect similar feminist themes and present unique contributions to guide us toward feminist sport psychology.
Martens (1987) and Dewar and Horn (1992) expressed the need for accepting diverse epistemological perspectives in sport psychology. This paper proposes feminism as an alternative approach to sport psychology research. Feminism grew out of dissatisfaction with “science-as-usual” that often overlooks the experiences of females and acknowledges that sport behavior does not occur in a value-free vacuum; male and female athletes are exposed to very different situations and experiences in sport. A reexamination of the knowledge base, with particular attention to the experiences of females, is needed. Because discontentment with logical positivism has led researchers in a variety of fields to adopt a feminist perspective, a brief critique of logical positivism is provided. A feminist paradigm and feminist methodologies are described, showing how they can enhance knowledge in sport psychology. Finally, examples of feminist inquiry in sport psychology are provided.
Christy Greenleaf and Karen Collins
This paper presents our experiences, thoughts, and struggles in working toward understanding, embracing, and implementing feminist perspectives in our scholarship and practice. Mentors, through their encouragement, guidance, and support, have played key roles in our growth as feminist sport and exercise psychology professionals. It is through our work with mentors that we have moved closer toward understanding and identifying with being feminist scholars. In our research, we place women as the central focus of our work, take into account contextual factors, and look toward creating social change. The struggles we have faced as young professionals include countering stereotypes of feminism, integrating feminist methodologies and epistemology into a traditionally logical positivist field, and moving from research findings to creating social change. Looking toward the future, we hope that feminist sport and exercise psychology scholars continue to build a community to share and discuss the issues and struggles of feminist researchers.
Young Sport and Exercise Psychology Feminists Christy Greenleaf * Karen Collins * 12 2001 15 15 4 4 431 431 437 437 10.1123/tsp.15.4.431 The Journey through Feminism: Theory, Research, and Dilemmas from the Field Tamar Z. Semerjian * Jennifer J. Waldron * 12 2001 15 15 4 4 438 438 444 444 10