Simone Fullagar

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Each of the chapters in this book have offered a thought provoking exploration of the gender assumptions that shape sporting bodies, capacities and relations of inclusion/exclusion. Importantly, the collection as a whole has made visible women’s influence on contesting and transforming action sport as a ‘generative’ cultural practice (Ahmed, 2004, p.155), while historical omissions have also been given critical attention. In this closing chapter I reflect upon how the various action sport feminisms in this collection articulate a set of concerns about embodied experience, new media representations and contested notions of ‘empowerment’ within the context of contemporary cultural and feminist debates. While the low participation rates of women and girls in traditional sports is often cited as problematic in a range of sport policies (Australian Sports Commission, 2015; Department of Media, Culture & Sport, 2015), there is increasing recognition of the appeal that action sports and physical cultures have had for women and girls in recent years. Action sports offer different challenges, an ethos of embodied experimentation and creative mobility that plays out through individual-collective and human-nonhuman relations (technology, nature, urban spaces). Learning to skateboard, roller skate, ride horses, BMX and surf as a girl in 1970s Australia meant taking embodied risks and mastering moves that produced an expansive corporeal confidence – a freedom in mobility that was always bound up with the dangers of transgressing masculine sportscapes. With few other women participants there were never simply waves for the taking or half pipes to be shared, these action zones had to be contested, challenged and reconfigured as spaces for women to become. Spat on, sworn at, dropped in on, shut out, laughed at and reprimanded for being too risky (by parents, teachers or other girls) or not risky enough (by male peers). Action sports generated embodied affects of pleasure, fear and shame that, for girls like me, involved multiple negotiations of shifting gender power relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in Action Sport Cultures
Subtitle of host publicationIdentity, Politics and Experience
EditorsHolly Thorpe, Rebecca Olive
Place of PublicationHoundsmills
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-45796-7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2016


  • lifestyle sport
  • feminism
  • action sport
  • Physical Culture


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