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ISBN 9783030672485

Sporty Girls

Gender, Health and Achievement in a Postfeminist Era





Palgrave MacMillan


This book engages with the ongoing question of why many girls stop doing sport and physical activity in their teenage years. Previous research has found that many girls’ disengagement from sport takes place despite their childhood enjoyment and that frequently these same women take up sport again as adults. Within these chapters, Sheryl Clark explores what it is about this period of time that persuades many girls to disengage from sports when their male peers continue to take part; why some girls continue to take part; and most importantly how girls understand this participation. She suggests that girls’ participation in sport should be viewed as part of their ongoing constructions of ‘successful girlhood’ within a competitive schooling system and broader socioeconomic context.  


1.Defining a “Problem” Girls’ Participation in Sport and Physical Education

2.Embodying Sporty Girlhood: Exploring Perspectives on Girls’ Sporting Participation Through Postfeminism

3.Becoming a Sporty Researcher: Gender, Legitimacy and Bodies That Move

4.A Good Education: School Achievement, Sport and Becoming a Successful Girl

5.Being “Good at Sport” Constituting Bodies Through Competition and Selection Processes

6.Responsible Body Projects, Health and Moral Hierarchies

7.Gendered and Racialised Bodies in Postfeminist Athletics: Embodied Capacities and Feminist Rage

8.Conclusion: Sporting Girlhoods and Feminist Possibilities


CLARK, Sheryl. Sporty Girls: Gender, Health and Achievement in a Postfeminist Era. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 2021.
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