This essay examines how young girls who participate in combat sports such as wrestling, a traditionally male stronghold, perform continually shifting gender identities that interweave physical traits and behaviors typically coded as masculine or feminine. Drawing upon auto-ethnographic and ethnographic methodologies, I demonstrate how a study of actual lived body experience grounded in a fluid conception of gender is able to remain sensitive to the unique performative gender work being done while providing a critical interrogation of the moments in which the performance of gender is inscribed as nonconformative. I suggest that if we wish to understand the gender dynamics involved in athletic competition, it is necessary to approach gender as a fluid, rather than solid, concept.
This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published in Text and Performance Quarterly [copyright Taylor & Francis];Text and Performance Quarterly is available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/[Article DOI]. 10.1080/10462931003658099
Miller, Shane, "Making the Boys Cry: The Performative Dimensions of Fluid Gender" (2010). Communication Faculty Publications. 19.