"Get Up, and Shut Up, You Play like Tarzan and Moan like Jane": Rugby Union Men and their Suppression of Body Anxiety

Darko, Natalie (2018). "Get Up, and Shut Up, You Play like Tarzan and Moan like Jane": Rugby Union Men and their Suppression of Body Anxiety. In: Fogel, Curtis ed. Critical Perspectives on Gender and Sport. Sport and Society, 2. Champaign Common Ground Publishers.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2152-7857/cgp/v02i02/54063


Research has shown that those men who are dissatisfied with their bodies will mask these concerns in sports practices. Accordingly, men’s body dissatisfactions are documented less frequently because the practices drawn upon to conceal them are perceived as routine forms of public masculine behaviour. This paper examines whether a group of British Rugby Union males, aged 18–30 of varied ethnic origins, participating in a 1st XV Team at a British sports university, experience body anxieties and use rugby and health-related sports acts to overcome and conceal them. It moves away from some of the existing methods used in sports research examining men’s body dissatisfactions, as it combines collaborative visual research methods with conventional qualitative methods. All of the rugby men expressed varying degrees of body anxieties and compared their bodies to their teammates whom they perceived to possess better attributes in this domain. Aspects of the rugby masculinity, adeptness, aggression and the tough body were relevant for understanding the development and management of the rugby men’s body anxieties.There were limited intimate dimensions for these men to express their body anxieties in Rugby Union, without ramifications for their masculine identity and sports performance. A competitive culture between the men, led them to use the sport, and health-related acts, to conceal and work to overcome their body anxieties. Visual research methods combined with conventional qualitative methods made it easier for these men to verbalise their body anxieties in more intimate dimensions. More research is needed to examine these dimensions as they are significant for understanding rugby men’s body anxieties and the impact their relationships with other rugby men have to these concerns. The implications are that visual research methods could be used in sports research, as they can assist in encouraging other sportsmen to express these types of concerns. Furthermore, they could help to understand the unnatural extremes in the sporting body; the drugs and over-exercise which may be used to produce these extreme effects.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions