"Everybody's looking at you!": Girls negoiating the 'femininity deficit' they face in physical education

Cockburn, Claudia and Clarke, Gill (2002) "Everybody's looking at you!": Girls negoiating the 'femininity deficit' they face in physical education Women's Studies International Forum, 25, (6), pp. 651-665. (doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(02)00351-5).


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There is a growing awareness of the complex and largely negative attitudes many girls in the UK hold towards physical activity in general and Physical Education (PE) in particular. This research in the UK involves a qualitative study of six Year 9 girls’ experiences and motivations in PE. Reflexive interpretation and biographical analysis of in-depth interviews are utilized to explore the themes of the relationship between ‘‘sportiness’’ and heterosexual desirability; and the polarized images of ‘‘tomboy’’ and ‘‘girlie.’’ Work by Connell [Connell, R.W. (1987). Gender and power. Cambridge: Polity Press.] on the gender order, and theories arising from the cultural analysis tradition on teenage girls’ subcultures and identity formation are drawn on in order to make sense of the girls’ narratives. The findings of this research reveal that images of teenage girls and young women being physically active are non-congruous with the traditional ideologies of acceptable femininity. This paper describes how these girls negotiate the contradictions and the tensions caused by the ‘‘femininity deficit’’ incurred in PE by creating ‘‘doubleidentities’’ and living ‘‘split lives.’’

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(02)00351-5
Keywords: physical activity, physical education, girls, biographical analysis, sportiness, gender, femininity
ePrint ID: 21056
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 22:57
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/21056

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