Date of Award
Outdoor education, Feminism and education, Women athletes -- Social conditions, Feminist theory, Masculinity
Through an intersectional Marxist, Post-Structuralist, Eco-Feminist lens, this study responds to Humberstone’s query if outdoor activities can challenge and transform gender inequalities or if outdoor activities must maintain and reproduce these inequalities (2000). I begin by discussing hegemony and hegemonic masculinity in order to critically assess traditional sport, outdoor activities, and the hegemonic constraints in accessing leisure experienced by women. The examples and discussion I provide demonstrate that extraordinary constraints persist in the 21st century, especially in the form of sexualization, infantilization, marginalization, and delegitimization of female athletes.
I argue that Outdoor Education, due to its unique goals and values, is an excellent venue for challenging hegemonic masculinity. I distinguish Outdoor Education as having different goals than other forms of activity in the outdoors; Outdoor Education is an experiential method of learning that aims to explore intrapersonal, interpersonal, ecosystemic, and ekistic relationships in outdoor environments (Priest 2005). Outdoor Education is capable of manifesting challenges to hegemony most when coupled with what I call ‘Feminist Outdoor Leadership.’ Feminist Outdoor Leadership shares power horizontally, acknowledges expressions of domination in space and language, invites participants to participate with their whole, emotional and relational selves, and is attentive to how gender role socialization affects technical skill development and confidence.
Smith, Amber, "Feminist Outdoor Leadership: Challenging hegemonic masculinity through Outdoor Education" (2016). University Honors Theses. Paper 242.