minimal coverage of women’s sport; highlighting female athletes’ appearance, femininity, and heterosexuality; consistently lower production quality of women’s sport coverage; and uninspired and lackluster coverage of women’s sport ( Fink, 2015 ; Musto et al., 2017 ). Perhaps most important to consider is
Katie Sullivan Barak, Chelsea A. Kaunert, Vikki Krane, and Sally R. Ross
Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
sexualized as entertainment designed to appeal to heterosexual male fans since the 1970s ( Hanson, 1995 ). Both football player and cheerleader embody in many ways the masculinities and femininities ( Connell, 1995 ) stereotypically associated with the ideal man and woman. Furthermore, media reports in
Julie E. Brice
spacetimemattering, to think about feminist politics and the production of femininity within the activewear phenomenon. Arising in part from a critique of anthropocentrism (a focus on human interests over other species, animals, and nonhuman matter) and logocentrism (privileging of human language and texts), which
Recent scholarship on women in combat sports has devoted substantial attention to the arena of martial arts and combat sports (MACS) as a space for women to challenge gender norms and construct new femininities (e.g., Channon, 2014 ; Channon & Phipps, 2017 ; Davies & Deckert, 2018 ; Maclean
M. Ann Hall
The argument presented here is that the sociological discourse of gender and sport, in other words the way the topic is approached, the assumptions surrounding its investigation, and the ways in which new knowledge is generated has been determined without sufficient recognition of its own ideological foundations. Gender, it is argued, is a major social and theoretical category that, along with social class, race, age, ethnicity, and others, must be incorporated into all theoretically based social analyses of sport. The paper reviews the development of the gender and sport discourse from its origins in social psychological research that focused on the supposed conflict between femininity and athleticism, to the more sophisticated yet functionalist notion of “sex roles” and its application to sport, and finally to the emerging feminist paradigm that is informed by a growing body of feminist social theory. The final section argues for a transformation of the gender and sport discourse toward a truly emancipatory one and provides some concrete suggestions as to how to bring this about.
Women’s bodybuilding manifestly challenges hegemonic understandings of the female body as weak, fragile, and limited. Because it has acquired characteristics that are traditionally deemed masculine, the muscular woman is thought to be in need of having her femininity “restored”. Perhaps for this reason, in bodybuilding competitions, female competitors are required to display femininity and implied heterosexuality on stage through their attitude, gestures, posing, make-up, hairstyle, and adornments. The aim of this study was to examine the experiences of competitors in the Bikini category to understand the ways in which they perceive and negotiate the expectations of idealized femininity within bodybuilding competitions. Semi-structured interviews, supplemented with ethnographic fieldwork, were conducted with nine female bodybuilding competitors. The data gathered indicated the contradictory views that some female bodybuilders hold of female muscularity and of femininity. The participants were able to negotiate the judging criteria, albeit at times reluctantly and with frequent expressions of criticism and disapproval.
Matthew S. Wiseman and Jane Nicholas
earlier changes in women’s sport in the interwar period, alongside the rise of “feminine visibility” 4 and modern hegemonic beauty culture, coupled with changes in consumer culture as exemplified by the bathing suit. From the 1920s to the 1950s, normative ideals of beauty, health, and femininity created
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.
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.
Emily A. Roper and José A. Santiago
, research has found that they are typically pictured outside the sport setting, out of their athletic uniform, and emphasis is placed on their femininity and heterosexuality ( LaVoi, 2013 ). Research has also found that when photographed, female athletes are often portrayed in passive poses and in ways that