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Derby Drag: Parodying Sexualities in the Sport of Roller Derby

The roller derby revival has created a unique stage and community for women athletes. Using Helen Lenskyj’s foundational work to frame the institutional oppressions on women in sports, I explore how marginalized spaces like derby engender performances and identities outside the male-dominated hegemony of mainstream sport. In parodically dragging sexualities, derby skaters expose and critique institutional constraints for women athletes and their sexualities. Moving beyond traditional drag, skaters enact sexualities that both tempt and terrify the male gaze across bodies often cast outside that gaze. Thus, derby creates critical commentary by and for the skaters who drag the sexualities that the hegemonic male gaze uses to objectify or dismiss them.