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Becoming a Man While Playing a Female Sport: The Construction of Masculine Identity in Boys Doing Rhythmic Gymnastics

The article shows how young men who take part in a ‘feminine’ sport — rhythmic gymnastics — construct their masculine identity. In order to be considered as men, boys performing rhythmic gymnastics have to work to construct their identity, a construction which depends both on their personal projects and on their relationships with family and friends. Adults (parents and other family members) as well as peers exert pressure on boys taking part in rhythmic gymnastics to conform to traditional masculine norms and their constructed identity can depend on this, as well as the relationships they have with girls who also do rhythmic gymnastics. These young men implement strategies in order to reconcile the different images of masculinity they are confronted with and to construct their identity: that of a man playing a feminine sport.