Musculinity? The Beauty in Strength

Date of Award


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Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


In most cultures through out history, women have always displayed capability of doing tasks that involve strenuous physical workloads. Women do not get the credit they deserve to pose their physical strength, and have often been criticized of their muscularity due to “normal” standards set by western culture. In North America, women have increasingly gained access to these “spaces” that are considered male dominant known as the fitness industry. Women are getting stronger as they gain agency in the world, and the space that Crossfit creates for women is what I set out to explore. Given the particular environment of Crossfit, women in that space will feel empowered. I wanted to gain an understanding about the social environment, as well as the benefits that women gain doing Crossfit. A total of 12 interviews were conducted to examine the experience of these women in Crossfit. I also used participatory observations to actively take part in workouts at 6 different Crossfit Affiliates (gyms). Results suggest that Crossfit not only strengthens an athlete’s physical capabilities, but there is a mental component to it as well. The women who were interviewed expressed experiences of personal empowerment, having more confidence, and having agency within Crossfit.


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