Subjectification of Female Barrel Racers

Title: Subjectification of Female Barrel Racers
Authors: Weninger, Desirea
Date: 2015
Abstract: Throughout history women’s participation in the male-dominated sporting atmosphere has been fraught with tensions. Many researchers have sought to bring light to the experiences of sportswomen walking the fine line between acceptable gender representation and successful sport performances. Rodeo is one such male dominated sport in which one event of seven is allocated for women’s participation. Ladies barrel racing showcases a rider and her horse racing through a cover-leaf pattern attempting to attain the fastest time. This thesis examines how barrel racers make sense of their sporting experiences. Drawing on Foucault’s notions of power, discourse, and knowledge a discourse analysis was performed to showcase how barrel racers become subjects. The results showcase two separate, yet interconnected, themes. The first analyzes how the barrel racing subject interacts with discourses of gender. It was found that contextual discursive fragments were (re)produced by the barrel racers that defined a code of professionalism that serves to discipline a barrel racer’s body and dress in order to represent an authentic cowgirl image separating her from the deviant, non-authentic ‘others’: groupies and wannabe’s. Further, when examining the inter-species interaction in barrel racing it was found that the racer and horse co-exist between three intertwined subjectivities: the athlete, the team member, and the trainer. Overall, the importance of context is showcased in the results as the specific cultural discourses actively engage with dominant gender discourse to create a nuanced knowledge base through with the barrel racers make sense of their subjectivity.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -