The gendered ideology of dependence has long aided feminist scholars concerned with explaining the origins of gender inequality in the workplace, politics, and the private realm of household labor and caregiving ( Fraser & Gordon, 1994 ; Orloff, 1993 ; Pateman, 1988 ). A simplified synopsis
Madeleine Pape and Fiona McLachlan
This paper describes an epistemology integrating feminist standpoint, queer theory, and feminist cultural studies. Feminist standpoint theory assumes that people develop different perspectives based on their position in society, and women have a distinct standpoint because of the power differential between females and males in our society. Queer theory places sexuality as a central focus, acknowledges the common history of devaluation of non heterosexual individuals, and challenges the current power structure marginalizing nonheterosexuals. Feminist cultural studies examines the role of gender within our cultural interactions and the reproduction of gender inequality in society. I then provide examples illustrating how these perspectives come together and guide my research investigating the experiences of lesbians in sport and women’s bodily experiences.
Dr Jan Wright and Shoshana Dreyfus
The notion of the body as “a medium of culture” (Bordo, 1990, p. 13), and specifically the female body as a site on which the oppression of patriarchy is inscribed or played out has been discussed by many feminist theorists (Bartky, 1988; Bordo, 1990; Dimen, 1989). More recently there has been increasing interest in the material body as a source of kinesthetic pleasure rather than, or simultaneously as, a site of inscription and oppression. In searching for new ways to think and talk about the body, there is a recognition that it cannot be seen simply as either a site of oppression or pleasure, but rather as a site where many apparently contradictory and opposing discourses can coexist and where interesting and complex mixes of pleasure and oppression can occur simultaneously (Shilling, 1993).
In this paper we attempt to explore these complexities through a study of belly dancing. This is a form of physical activity with an increasingly large following. On one hand, it seems possible to conceive of belly dancing as ‘feminist project’ as it offers possibilities for challenging hegemonic constructions of femininity and for women’s empowerment; on the other hand, many of the practices associated with belly dancing work to construct discourses which sit uncomfortably with feminist understandings of the body. This paper then becomes an exploration of the complex meanings which constitute the contemporary practice of belly dancing, with reference to a specific dance class in a regional city in Australia.
While we are using the description ‘feminist project’ as a guiding principle for this paper, we also recognize that this is not a totalizing concept and will be different for different women in different contexts. We also recognize that the attribute “feminist” is itself not unitary but that feminist theory takes many forms, takes up different issues and defines its objects of study in a variety of ways. In the paper we draw on feminist post-structuralist theory to examine the various discourses and social practices of belly dancing. This allows us to recognize that in talking about the dance, the women interviewed may draw on a wide range of discourses which are concerned with women and their bodies, and which in their different ways may be characterized as feminist. On the other hand, the consequences of taking up one discourse rather than another have implications for how women are located and locate themselves in relations of power. We are wary, for instance, of essentializing discourses which attempt to naturalize sexual differences in a context where male and female attributes are often seen as constituting the opposite sides of a binary where those attributes associated with women are regarded as of lesser value.
Sarah Zipp, Tavis Smith, and Simon Darnell
Recently, two trends have emerged within the theorizing and assessment of sport for development (SFD): a critical feminist approach, which examines how gender is experienced in SFD, questioning traditional SFD approaches that may unwittingly reinforce restrictive gender roles ( Carney & Chawansky
Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
ideology underlies discourse surrounding the employment roles of NFL cheerleaders, contributing to the perpetuation of hegemonic gender ideology in sport (e.g., Fink, 2008 ). This critical discourse analysis (CDA) takes a feminist perspective, and as such, we consider how gender relations, power, and
Diane L. Gill
The feminist paradigm has been advocated as an appropriate alternative framework for sport psychology theory and research. The current paper extends the feminist perspective to sport psychology practice, particularly to educational consultation. Application of a feminist perspective to sport psychology practice requires (a) an awareness of relevant gender scholarship and valuing of the female perspective, (b) a shift in focus from the personal to the social, and (c) an egalitarian, process-oriented approach. Applying the feminist perspective implies not only an awareness of relevant sport psychology scholarship but also a commitment to action to educate and empower sport participants.
Brenda Light Bredemeier
This article presents a discussion of feminist praxis in sport psychology research. Praxis is a dialectical process of reflection and action that is motivated by one’s commitment to transformation. Those who are engaged in feminist praxis are working to transform the power and privilege differentials based on social structures and practices that deny or diminish the full humanity of all peoples. Sport psychology research that is grounded in feminist praxis seeks to better understand the sport experiences of marginalized people, especially girls and women, in order to inform strategies and processes for personal and social change. Two research projects are used to illustrate feminist praxis in sport psychology research. The first research project involved an investigation of women’s epistemological perspectives in their daily lives and physical activity domains. The second involved a study of lesbian moral exemplars who have been active and influential in sport. The feminist praxis that grounded both projects impacted the relationships among sport psychology researchers and study participants as well as other methodological considerations.
Mary Louise Adams, Michelle T. Helstein, Kyoung-yim Kim, Mary G. McDonald, Judy Davidson, Katherine M. Jamieson, Samantha King, and Geneviéve Rail
This collection of commentaries emerged from ongoing conversations among the contributors about our varied understandings of and desires for the sport studies field. One of our initial concerns was with the absence/presence of feminist thought within sport studies. Despite a rich history of feminist scholarship in sport studies, we have questioned the extent to which feminism is currently being engaged or acknowledged as having shaped the field. Our concerns crystallized during the spirited feminist responses to a fiery roundtable debate on Physical Cultural Studies (PCS) at the annual conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) in New Orleans in November 2012. At that session, one audience member after another spoke to what they saw as the unacknowledged appropriation by PCS proponents of longstanding feminist—and feminist cultural studies—approaches to scholarship and writing. These critiques focused not just on the intellectual moves that PCS scholars claim to be making but on how they are made, with several audience members and some panelists expressing their concerns about the territorializing effects of some strains of PCS discourse.
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.