Articles

Women’s (non) participation in sports: Gendered attitudes, biopolitics, and women’s perceptions of body and sports in Iran

Authors
  • Ladan Rahbari (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Zeinab Mahmudabadi (n.a.)

Abstract

Women’s lower participation in sports in Iran is perceived to be caused by broadly held patriarchal-cultural norms as well as the Iranian State’s regulation of women’s sports and visibility. This exploratory research uses feminist scholarship and qualitative methods to investigate the central factors forming women’s perceptions of sports participation and gender. Based on interviews with twenty-six women participants, the study revealed that essentialist beliefs among the participants attributed muscularity, strength, and excessive size to men, and delicateness, beauty, and thinness to women. We draw on feminist perspectives on body politics to explore women’s attitudes and explanations for (non)participation in sports. Discourses of appropriate femininity and gendered embodiment played important roles in these explanations. References to modesty, gender norms, and faith were peripheral in our findings on gendered aspects of physical activity and sports participation.

Keywords: Biopolitics, Body, Fatphobia, Femininity, Iran, Muscularity, Sports

How to Cite:

Rahbari, L. & Mahmudabadi, Z., (2022) “Women’s (non) participation in sports: Gendered attitudes, biopolitics, and women’s perceptions of body and sports in Iran”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 9(1), 89-105. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/digest.81846

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Published on
07 Jun 2022
Peer Reviewed