balancing acts: women in sport
edited by Justin Wolfers with Erin Riley
A collection of non-fiction pieces from more than 20 contributors that explores women’s range of experiences with sport and sporting culture in Australia.
Focusing on a critically under-represented part of Australian culture—specifically the myriad ways non-male participants negotiate the traditionally male spectacle of athleticism—this collection interrogates the way sporting bodies and achievements are portrayed in Australian media and culture.
Understanding the term ‘sport’ in the broadest possible sense, and applying the definition of ‘women’ in the same way (to include trans, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex and otherwise non-cis women, as well as from and/or about queer, lesbian, and bisexual women), these essays examine the way women athletes’ experience are marginalised and under-reported, and attempt to de-centre the status quo of sports writing and commentary as dominated by male perspectives and expertise.
The pieces in the book take literary, historical, narrative, critical, experimental and personal approaches to their subject matter, as well as several that make use of reportage and interviews. Topics include:
the sexualisation of women in surfing culture;
the marginalisation of women in boxing;
feminine performativity in ballet;
life as an AFL spectator;
structural disadvantage as experienced by a cyclist;
social soccer's ins and outs;
the power relations between female athletes and coaches;
female-identifying athletes’ experience of homophobia;
the aesthetics of televised sports.
LENGTH: 344 pp.
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2018
COVER ART: Zoë Croggon
CONTRIBUTORS AND CONTENTS
Contributors include established sports writers and sports advocates like Brunette Lenkic, Imogen Smith, Jodi McAlister, Nicole Hayes, and Danielle Warby; academics and cultural critics such as Kasey Symons, Emma Jenkins and Erin Stewart; as well as writers published widely in books, magazines and newspapers including Ellen Van Neerven, Kate Doak, Holly Isemonger, Gina Rushton, Charlotte Guest, Katerina Bryant, Nadia Bailey, Savannah Indigo, Stephanie King, Laura Buzo, Roslyn Helper, and Rebecca Slater
PRAISE FOR BALANCING ACTS: WOMEN IN SPORT
from Tegan Higginbotham’s introduction to this collection
“Stories of complicated dynamics between coach and athlete, homophobia on and off the field, fraught personal relationships to bodies, team camaraderie and intensely felt fandom are intimate and engrossing, and surprising parallels appear between the accounts in the book.”
Holly Anderson, Books+Publishing
“If sport is power, performance, bodies, and love, then women’s interactions with and in sport are contested at each turn. The power of the trained athlete is pitted against the power of the patriarchy to deny its space. Sport is, on an individual level, a relationship to one’s own body; in the balancing act between women and sport, that relationship is forever being appropriated.”
Marie Matteson, Readings