Elite women wrestlers' muscles : physical strength and a social burden
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Artikler / Articles 
Original versionInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport. 2009, 44(2-3), 231-246
Wrestling is a male-dominated sport in terms of participation, commonly perceived as a masculine sport due to the requirement of muscular strength, courage, fighting spirit, as well as and the element of combat. Integral to achieving wrestling skills and physical capability is muscularity, something which may contradict common perceptions of feminine body appearance. The objective of this study is to examine female elite wrestlers' enactment of the wrestler's role and how they experienced enhancement of skills and bodily structure. This was done by means of a qualitative interview of eight Norwegian elite wrestlers comprising four females and four males in the age group 17 to 32 years. Since the wrestlers practice in a mixed gender setting the males were included as being part of the interaction. The study revealed different ways in which the female wrestlers were doing femininity which also seemed to be contextually bound. This was particularly related to strength training and overall performance as wrestlers. The seniors had apparently accepted strenuous strength training and big muscles, whereas the juniors were `holding back' giving priority to the `private body'. The seniors had accepted the `athletic body' and muscularity with its social costs.