The female bodybuilder as a gender outlaw

Shilling, Chris and Bunsell, Tanya (2009) The female bodybuilder as a gender outlaw. Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 1 (2). pp. 141-159. ISSN 0252-9203. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This paper is a sociological exploration of the female bodybuilder as a 'gender outlaw', a figure who is stigmatised not because she has broken a formal law, but because she has disregarded so flagrantly dominant understandings of what is aesthetically, kinaesthetically and phenomenologically acceptable within the gendered order of social interaction. Illustrating our argument with reference to a two-year ethnographic study of British female bodybuilders, we begin by explicating the contours of this deviance - associating it with multiple transgressions manifest in terms of choice, aesthetics, action/experience and consumption - and explore the costs accruing to these stigmatised women. In the second half of the paper, we attend to the motivations and experiences of female bodybuilders themselves in explaining why they remain engaged in an activity rendered perverse by dominant gendered norms. Exploring their commitment to an interaction order based upon muscle rather than gender, our conclusion suggests these women offend the most fundamental 'collective sentiments', possessing no authorised place in the cultural consciousness of society.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Chris Shilling
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2009 16:09
Last Modified: 01 May 2014 09:55
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