Femininity and the Physically Active Woman
Routledge – 2000 – 136 pages
Series: Women and Psychology
Why do fewer women than men exercise? What is the ‘sporty’ type?
The fitness boom of the last two decades has led to many people incorporating exercise into their lifestyles through activities such as jogging and aerobics. However, whilst many physical and psychological health benefits have been documented, far too few people actually take part in enough exercise to glean significant improvements, and this is much more a problem for women and men.
Femininity and the Physically Active Woman explores one reason many women offer for their lack of involvement in sport and exercise – that they are not the ‘sporty’ type. Precilla Y.L. Choi argues that the ‘sporty’ type is masculine, and to determine how this notion might affect women’s self-perceptions, she critically examines the experiences of women athletes, bodybuilders, recreational exercisers and girls’ physical education. What emerges is the importance of visible differences between women and men, in terms of muscularity, strength and agility in order to maintain the gender order. Thus if a girl or woman wishes to play the masculine game of sport she most do so in conformity with a number of patriarchal rules which ensure she is first and foremost recognised as heterosexual feminine being.
Contributing to a psychology of the physically active woman by examining women’s experiences from critical feminist and gendered perspectives, Femininity and the Physically Active Woman will be of great interest to students, researchers, practitioners and teachers from a range of disciplines.