Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Marla Morris

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Dan Chapman

Committee Member 3

Dan Czech

Abstract

Women in sport challenge our cultural assumptions about gender and sexuality. Athletics has been viewed as a male domain, with its emphasis on strength, agility, competition, intellect, and aggression. To play sports, women are pressured to maintain and emphasize their femininity without appearing overly aggressive or possessing masculine traits associated with sport, particularly in the team sport of softball. This research examines the expectations a patriarchal society places on young women who play sports competitively and how such expectations with regards to femininity in both behavior and appearance influence a young female athlete's identity formation. Through the lenses of gender studies and cultural studies, the lived experiences of a female high school athlete are described. This study traces the challenges and successes women have experienced trying to gain entry into the institutionalized world of sport since the Industrial Revolution. It also explores acts of both resistance and conformity with regards to social constructions of gender on a high school softball team.

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