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By the Skaters, for the Skaters: The DIY Ethos of the Roller Derby Revival

The growth of women’s roller derby has been driven by the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic. This means the majority of roller derby leagues are owned and operated by the participants. Drawing on an ethnographic study of three leagues, the author argues that the DIY ethos is not simply motivated by necessity; rollergirls consider it an important value of the revival. Doing it themselves ensures that skaters maintain control over their athletic activity, their organizations, and the sport as a whole. The author contends that roller derby’s DIY ethic is not about individualism. Instead, the revival is driven by rollergirls’ collective labor. The author also shows that the DIY ethic pushed women to create a sport that they control. Finally, the author discusses the barriers to participation that result from the DIY ethic.