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Title: Alternative bodies : gender and identity among female bodybuilders in Malta
Authors: Fabri, Gemima
Keywords: Bodybuilding -- Malta
Women bodybuilders -- Malta
Femininity -- Malta
Human body -- Social aspects -- Malta
Issue Date: 2020
Citation: Fabri, G. (2020). Alternative bodies : gender and identity among female bodybuilders in Malta (Bachelor’s dissertation).
Abstract: This research study aims to provide a discussion of the experience of female bodybuilders in Malta with particular emphasis on issues of femininity and its relation to the muscular body, especially considering the supposed inherent incompatibility of femininity and the muscular body. I shall argue that, for female bodybuilders in Malta, the muscular body is not considered to be inherently opposed to femininity, and that, the limited level of muscularity female bodybuilders in Malta generally strive to possess acts to enhance their femininity. Despite this apparent specific congruency however, female bodybuilders still do not identify with the symbolic qualities attributed to muscularity which are considered to be of the masculine domain, such as power and strength. In this sense, female bodybuilders in Malta cannot be considered to resist hegemonic ideas of femininity, because both through their physique as well as in the behaviour, they still act well within the boundaries of what is considered to be feminine. In addition, I shall also discuss whether the discipline of bodybuilding can be seen as a form of empowerment for its athletes or a form of social constriction which acts to control their bodies by instilling mechanisms of self-regulation within the very bodies of its practitioners. While elements of social control are clearly present within the discipline of bodybuilding due to its emphasis on a strict routine and diet and the constant manipulation of the body, female bodybuilders also attribute feelings of increased empowered through the sport. Finally, despite the fact that female bodybuilders in Malta are not directly resisting hegemonic norms of femininity through their muscular bodies as such, in their pursuit and practicing of the sport, they are actively challenging the negative local perception of female bodybuilders and redefining common perceptions of what it means to be a female bodybuilder.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2020
Dissertations - FacArtAS - 2020

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