Conspiring to run: women, their bodies and athletics training

Mewett, Peter G. 2003, Conspiring to run: women, their bodies and athletics training, International review for the sociology of sport, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 331-349, doi: 10.1177/10126902030383005.

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Title Conspiring to run: women, their bodies and athletics training
Author(s) Mewett, Peter G.
Journal name International review for the sociology of sport
Volume number 38
Issue number 3
Start page 331
End page 349
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd.
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2003
ISSN 1012-6902
Keyword(s) body
historical sociology
sports training
women's athletics
Summary Women's athletics commenced about 60 years after the start of the men's sport. Women's involvement in athletics was held back by the medical and general views that this was a strenuous sport requiring a level of exertion beyond the biological capabilities of female bodies. Their difficult initiation into athletics occurred under male gaze; they encountered opposition from the public, the medical profession and from the male-controlled athletics organizations. A serious participation in athletics requires significant exertion and dedicated training. While the prevailing view was that moderate physical exercise without strain enhanced women's health, the exertion required for athletics was deemed to be potentially dangerous. Within essentialist views of gender, women's involvement in athletics was thought to have implications for their nurturing and domestic roles. When the pioneer women athletes tried to excel, they were said to be straining themselves and their participation in the sport was brought into question. By using theoretical insights drawn mostly from Foucault, training manuals from the early decades of women's athletics and material from interviews with some of the first English female athletes are examined to investigate the attitudes of both genders to women in athletics and to analyse how they circumvented the potential veto of their sport by men.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/10126902030383005
Field of Research 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2003, ISSA and SAGE Publications
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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