Women’s experiences of gender-based barriers and stereotypes in bodybuilding as a masculine sport in Poland
The aim of this thesis is to study gender-based barriers and stereotypes that influence women in masculine sports taking bodybuilding as an example and analyzing four interviews by using a feminism perspective and professional discourse analysis. In terms of methodology it applies narrative writing, interviews, analysis and professional discourse analysis from female bodybuilding athletes and autoethnography. I choose this topic because it is related to my nowadays life - work and hobby. I am a personal trainer from Poland, who live and study in Sweden and I’ve become a polish elite athlete two years ago by getting accepted to the Polish national team of fitness athletes. I will focus on Donna Haraway’s theory about “situated knowledge” (Haraway, 1988) and Butler (1990) critical thinking about “gender as a performance”. Furthermore, I will present scholars about gender equality in sport. Even though sport provides opportunities, it also reinforces dangerous and damaging social patterns such as gender inequity, racism or homophobia. In my thesis I will present different gender barriers women have to overcome in their sports career. First of all, I will discuss how parenthood influence both female and male athletes. Secondly, I will explain why women’s sport is marginalized in social media. According to my interviews and experience, despite all the strides made by women’s participation in sport, media and society still provide limited attention to female athletes and there is also a strong emphasis on heterosexuality when promoting women’s sport. Third, I will examine how “beauty” standards influence judging in bodybuilding, where social and cultural norms about gender are stereotyped in the contest by highlighting a “female” and “male” appearance in every possible way. At the end I will also compare economy support and expenses in sport according to gender. I will prove, that when it comes to money in bodybuilding, women invest more in this sport and achieve less in return. In conclusion, while everyone cares about making things easier for men, women still need to fight for equal rights in sports.