By. K. McIntosh
Picture a skier at the top of a mountain, all alone, surrounded by nothing but a sublime view. The skier, surrounded by trees and snow, contemplates the ideal line of descent down the tumultuous terrain. What gender did you associate with the skier?
The main takeaway from Stoddart’s (2013) article is that a combination of factors influence the gender bias however one that may not be evident is in the inscribed physical environment where these sports are performed. Of course, the more identifiable examples of gendered sportscapes are created by the media and exemplified within ski magazines, websites, and more. The demonstrated youthful, carefree, and riskiness in this media is associated (and marketed) towards a masculine audience.
It was also discussed in the article that skiers interviewed (both male and female) identified backcountry skiing as a male dominated activity. The women did not feel comfortable adventuring into the unknown without the guidance of an experienced male. However, it was noted that things are beginning to change and that women feel more empowered to get a group of women together and explore all that nature has to offer.
The feminist movement has aided in the appeal of pushing one’s boundaries and we are to recognize that this is not only limited to politics and workplace, but that it is also present in the recreational environment.
Stoddart, M. J. C. (2013). Constructing masculinized sportscapes: Skiing, gender and nature in British Columbia, Canada. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 46(1), 108-124.