Gender Performativity in Sports and Physical Education

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  • Title: Gender Performativity in Sports and Physical Education
  • Author(s): Håkan Larsson
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Keywords: Gender, Heteronormativity, Gender performativity, Sports, Physical Education.
  • Date: June 12, 2024
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-963049-22-0
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-963049-23-7
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/978-1-963049-23-7/CGP
  • Citation: Larsson, Håkan. 2024. Gender Performativity in Sports and Physical Education. Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-963049-23-7/CGP.
  • Extent: 133 pages

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Abstract

The purpose of Gender Performativity in Sports and Physical Education is to explore a perspective of gender called gender performativity as an alternative to the tendency in sports and physical education to think about gender in terms of ‘naturalness’ and how girls and boys, men and women ‘are.’ The notion of gender performativity, which was coined by Judith Butler in the early 1990s, starts from the idea that gender is something people do rather than something they are. Such a perspective offers new ways of understanding gender, and therefore also gender equity, in sports and physical education. It offers new ways to think about how inequitable practices can change. The notion of gender performativity was developed as a tool to challenge taken for granted ideas about gender, gender differences, and sexual orientation, which have contributed to reproducing power orders where men are valued more than women, where heterosexuality is valued more than other sexualities, and where cisgender (cis) people are valued more than transgender (trans) and intersex people. Empirical illustrations of the gender performativity in sports and physical education are mainly drawn from Håkan Larsson's thirty-year research on the matter, but connections are also made to other research in the field.