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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport eTheses
Title: Strong is the new slim: a study of the body and gender amongst female free weights users
Authors: Spice, Robyn Charlotte
Supervisor(s): Reid, Irene A
Jasper, Alison E
Keywords: Weight Training
Physical Activity
Ideal Body
Social Norm
Social Construction
Body Image
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This research explored the importance of the ideal female body and gender stereotypes amongst a group of female free weights users in a fitness facility in Scotland. Utilising principles of ethnography, information was initially gathered through working as a participant-as-observer to identify different female free weights users within the facility. From this, as well as using a gatekeeper and snowball sampling, twenty women took part in one-to-one interviews. Different groups of women were interviewed including: those training in the free weights areas to aid their sporting performance, for health or aesthetic reasons and those preparing for physique competitions. Interviews focused on the women’s use of the free weights areas, perceptions of their own bodies and their opinions on the ideal female body as well as their interpretations of the concepts femininity, masculinity and muscularity. The unique narrative of each woman was critically analysed with reference to social construction feminism. Whilst interviews were the main data collection technique for this research, participant observation and informal conversations within the free weights areas also informed the findings of this study. The motivations behind women taking part in weight training are presented. Interviewees’ definitions of the ideal female body are explored and the significance of this body is discussed. Factors influencing the women’s definitions of the ideal body are also examined. The impact of social media on participants’ use of the free weights areas is analysed. The women’s perceptions of the terms masculinity, femininity and muscularity are considered alongside how these perceptions affected their training within the free weights areas.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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