to perform gender and sex in a myriad of ways, cultural expectations and social rewards encourage hegemonic representations which then normalize the heterosexual matrix. As Waldron ( 2016 ) expressed, “despite the fluidity of gender and sexuality through performative acts, repeated performances of
Mallory Mann and Vikki Krane
Timothy J. Curry and Richard H. Strauss
This visual study explores the social conditions that promote the normalization of injuries in sport. Photographs taken at a university wrestling team’s meets and practices, and in a hospital operating room, convey some of the details and social ambience of today’s approach to collegiate sports medicine. Quotations drawn from photo-elicitation interviews with the coaches and athletes express the views of the participants. This study suggests that the normalization of injuries in sport—illustrated when universities make medical care immediately available and coaches and athletes minimize the significance of injury—encourages continued participation. Such continuation may be questioned by those concerned with the long-term effects of “playing with pain.”
Shelly A. McGrath and Ruth A. Chananie-Hill
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.
Kamiel Reid and Christine Dallaire
. Consequently, female soccer referees may find it difficult to challenge the normalized patriarchal and masculinized structures and practices associated with both their position and sport culture, and thus adopt the esteemed gendered practices in order to be accepted and recognized just as other sportswomen
Gwen E. Chapman
This paper uses a Foucauldian framework for understanding how human experience is shaped by relations of power to explore the weight management practices of members of a women’s lightweight rowing team. Like other forms of disciplinary power, making weight involves implementing a regimen governed by normalizing assumptions, maintained through self-monitoring, and supported by discourse. The practices of making weight also are examined as a technology of the self that the rowers used to create and understand themselves. The position of women’s sport at the intersection of sports and gender discourse offered the rowers opportunities to oppose relations of power while reinforcing their limits within the confines of a disciplinary matrix.
Sharon R. Guthrie and Shirley Castelnuovo
The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the ways women with physical disabilities shape their identities and manage (i.e., cope or come to terms with) their disabilities while living in an able-bodyist culture. Particular emphasis was placed on how these women, all of whom were participating in sport or exercise, used physical activity in the management process. In-depth interviews were conducted with 34 women who had physical mobility disabilities. Findings indicated three different approaches to managing disability via physical activity: (a) management by minimizing the significance of the body, (b) management by normalization of the body, and (c) management by optimizing mind-body functioning. They also indicated that having a disability does not preclude positive physical and global self-perceptions. The implications of these findings for sport and society are discussed.
Michela Musto and P.J. McGann
The apologetic strategies women employ to manage the cultural tension between athleticism and hegemonic femininity are well documented. Existing research, however, tends to be small-scale. The cumulative symbolic implications of female athlete appearance on cultural ideals remain under-theorized as a result. Our quantitative content analysis of a stratified, random sample of 4,799 collegiate women athletes’ roster photos examined whether sport, school type, and geographical location are related to gendered appearance. Despite important contextual variation, we found overwhelming homogeneity across settings. Our results suggest that the normalization of women’s athleticism is limited and depends on subordinated femininities. Thus, despite some positive changes, team sport still helps stabilize and naturalize the gender order.
In the practical discourse of sport the focus is on the individual athlete as the autonomous and independent locus of action. This discourse is deconstructed from a, poststructuralist perspective. It is argued that in sport the disciplinary techniques of the body and self, as depicted by Michel Foucault, are both an instrument and an effect of competing. Disciplinary and normalizing practices such as bodily exercises or filling in a training diary are instruments for athletes to transcend their current performance, which is the core of the logic of competing. Furthermore, disciplining is the outcome of this “rationale” to excel. Giddens’s notion of structure is used to explicate the structure of competing. Yet his Cartesian conception of agents as knowledgeable is qualified, that is, within the practices of training and the structure of competing, some consequences of these practices escape athletes’ intention. The constitution of athletes’ subjectivity and even the consequences of the process of competing may be beyond their control.
Following the research into narrative of scholars such as Laurel Richardson, Carolyn Ellis, and John Van Maanen, I explore the narrative as a way of writing about experiences of sport, specifically of my experiences of identity within high-performance sport. Using the narrative form, I create a space for a variety of my voices to emerge—including both my academic and my athletic voices. Narrative also allows me to show how different stories—stories of gender and racialization—are told, while exploring my identity and how the multiplicity of stories mirrors the hybridity or ambiguity of identity. These stories serve as an illustration of Debra Shogan’s argument that this hybridity of identity disrupts the normalizing project of modern high-performance sport (1999).
The invention of the commercial sports bra in 1977 was a significant advancement for physically active women. Despite its humble origins as an enabling technology, the sports bra has since been invested with new and varied cultural meanings and currencies. In this article I critically read popular representations of sports bras, specifically advertisements and “iconic sports-bra moments” that circulate around Brandi Chastain’s celebration of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s victory in the 1999 World Cup. I argue that such representations sexualize sports bras and the women who wear them. In addition, these representations homogenize and normalize ideals of femininity, which are considered achievable through technologies of disciplined body management, and reproduce the traditional gender order.