Sport has traditionally offered limited access to female athletes and has been dominated by the male experience. Academic research has long documented the challenges of female athletes to manage their incongruent identities of female and athlete and the pressure placed on these athletes to accentuate their femininity both on and off the court. The rise of professional women's athletics in the United States brings new focus to the experience of the female athlete as she is asked to both excel in her sport AND maintain her femininity all the while maintaining the importance of the male gaze to the legitimacy of women's sports. The research utilizes secondary data analysis from thirty-five in-depth, face-to-face interviews with female football players gathered over a three-year period between 2003 and 2006. This research affirms that female athletes continue to be challenged by the social pressure to conform to the ideals of femininity while also working towards attaining legitimacy for women's sport. The intersection of female athlete with the male dominated sport of football (American football) provides a unique perspective to study the experience of the female athlete including gender, assumed sexuality, and the feminine apologetic. It points to the objectification of women to attain acceptance while simultaneously calling into question the athletic prowess of the athlete by centering on the importance of the male gaze.Sport has traditionally offered limited access to female athletes and has been dominated by the male experience.
|Title||:||The Experiences of Female Football Players|
|Author||:||Catherine Baker Campbell, California State University, Sacramento|