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Skating Femininity: Gender Maneuvering in Women’s Roller Derby

This article contributes to the discussion of hegemonic and alternative femininities through an ethnographic study of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby. As a site for construction of alternative femininities in the image of a “derby girl,” derby reveals how the understudied intra gender relations between femininities can be important in challenging hegemonic gender relations. The dynamics between femininities, and the women who practice them, affect the motivations for challenging hegemonic gender, the transportation of symbolic discourses deployed in the challenges, and the creation of new organizational networks to sustain these challenges. One sees these effects in the organized ways the athletes feminize their participation in an aggressive sport through resistance, adaptation, mockery, and parody of hegemonic femininity, pariah femininities, and sport. This study gives particular attention to the interpretation of the events by the skaters and the histories of the social actors as well the interactions in the collective.