Rx’d and Shirtless: An Examination of Gender in a Crossfit Box

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Southern Illinois University
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Scholars have examined the ways in which gender is reproduced and resisted in various physical activities and their designated spaces such as aerobics (Markula, 2003), weight training (Dworkin, 2001), and fitness training (Ginsberg, 2000). CrossFit, a relatively new entrant on the fitness scene, has seen an increase in popularity and popular media coverage in the past few years. One of the core tenets of CrossFit is the belief that it is accessible to everyone through scaling. Using a critical feminist geographical approach, the purpose of this research was to examine the ways in which gender was reproduced and resisted in one CrossFit box. This ethnographic study incorporated participant observation, semistructured, in-depth interviews, and online archival work. The themes that emerged included sense of community, pushing through physical limits, coed workouts, beat by a girl, and spatial influence. The results indicate that even though there are ways in which gender norms are reinforced in this space there were also multiple ways in which ideal femininity and hegemonic masculinity were resisted.

Knapp is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.

Address author correspondence to Bobbi Knapp at bknapp@siu.edu.
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