Reinventing the female body-self: transcending gender roles and bodily investment in women’s boxing embodiment

Owton, Helen (2015). Reinventing the female body-self: transcending gender roles and bodily investment in women’s boxing embodiment. In: QMiP Conference 2015, 2-4 Sep 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Abstract

This paper draws on the autoethnographic data collected by the researcher, H, who actively started participating in women's boxing in the Midlands (UK) with an aim to become a fully-fledged insider member of a boxing club. The methods of data collection and analysis included keeping very detailed and critical field notes in personal logs and reflective journals. These collected data were subjected to a phenomenological and thematic narrative analysis. Commensurate with a phenomenological approach, lived, corporeal experiences of boxing are portrayed through the use of vignettes and poems. Key findings of my own account are grounded in my female lived-body, with a focus on the reinvention of the self, as well as the intense and heightened sensorial forms of embodiment encountered in the physical and masculinist cultures of boxing. Analyses of the findings draw upon this previous research which includes rich detail of carnal experience to explore the intense and heightened sensorial aspects whereby the hard-contact, bloodying, bruising, sensory dimensions of boxing strongly emerge. Findings of this research offer a greater understanding through a critical analysis of female sporting embodiment with an aim to generate potent insights to the identity transformations in female boxing experiences as lived and felt in the flesh.

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