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'I'd feel ashamed' : girls' bodies and sports participation.

Evans, B. (2006) ''I'd feel ashamed' : girls' bodies and sports participation.', Gender, place and culture., 13 (5). pp. 547-561.


This article is concerned with the links between space, gender and adolescents' bodies. Drawing on data from both qualitative and quantitative research carried out with adolescents aged 13-16 in Liverpool, UK in 2001 the article examines girls' low participation rates in physical education (PE). Framed within theoretical work relating to the performance of corporeal femininities and 'inhibited intentionality' in reference to sporting confidence, girls' experiences of single-sex PE are compared with their perceptions of mixed PE in order to explore how the presence of boys may impact on girls' perceptions of their bodies and willingness to participate in sport. The results suggest that while girls still feel pressure from a male gaze to present their bodies to boys as passively beautiful, they also feel pressure to be competent at sport and thus present their bodies as active. However, single-sex PE does not provide a space where the male gaze is absent, suggesting this gaze has been internalized. This article explores the nature of school space in explaining differential participation rates, highlighting how sports within the space of the school, with an emphasis on competition and under the evaluative gaze of teachers, intensify some girls' fears of inadequacy in sports. The findings illustrate the complexities and contradictions present within and between girls' experiences of their bodies and sports and the relationship between school space and adolescents' bodies.

Item Type:Article
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Record Created:24 Mar 2010 14:35
Last Modified:17 Dec 2010 16:33

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