Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-century Women's Sport

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Harvard University Press, 1995 - Social Science - 358 pages
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Today, there are women athletes who are media celebrities and a source of inspiration for many. But not long ago, being serious about sport was considered appropriate only for men and boys. Throughout the twentieth century, women's increasing participation in sport has challenged our conception of womanhood. Some celebrated the female athlete as the embodiment of modern womanhood, but others branded her "mannish" or lesbian. Ultimately, she altered the perception of sport as an exclusively male domain.

Susan Cahn's story of how sport has changed women's lives and women have transformed sport is an important chapter in the wider history of women's struggles to define their role in the twentieth century. For the women who dared to compete, participation in sport enabled them to expand the boundaries of women's activities and to claim that strength, skill, physicality, and competitiveness could be authentic attributes of womanhood. This is the legacy they passed on to the new generation of women for whom athleticism is becoming a way of life.

  

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Coming on strong: gender and sexuality in twentieth-century women's sport

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In roughly chronological order, Cahn (history, SUNY-Buffalo) illuminates issues of race, class, and gender in an entertaining social history that exposes society's pervasive infrastructure of male ... Read full review

Contents

The New Type of Athletic Girl
7
Grassroots Growth and Sexual Sensation
31
Games of Strife
55
Order on the Court
83
Cinderellas of Sport
110
No Freaks No Amazons No Boyish Bobs
140
Beauty and the Butch
164
Play It Dont Say
185
Women CompetingGender Contested
207
Youve Come a Long Way Maybe
246
Notes
281
Index
351
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