Balancing Acts: Women in Sport
Essays on power, performance, bodies & love
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
“This book is a loud, solid testament to the fact that for so many women around Australia, sport has evolved. Regardless of whether these authors and writers have gone on to pursue their chosen sport, or found new footing in other creative fields, the essays, stories, poems, and the deeply personal admissions they share, prove that sport is not merely a hobby for women or something that can be given up. It is our identity. It shapes us. It gives us the moments that define us. ... Clearly, we still have a long way to go. But the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and now, there’s no going back.”
—from Tegan Higginbotham’s introduction to this collection
“Stories of complicated dynamics between coach and athlete, homophobia on and off the field, fraught personal relationships to bodies, team camaraderie and intensely felt fandom are intimate and engrossing, and surprising parallels appear between the accounts in the book.”
—Holly Anderson, Books+Publishing
A collection of non-fiction pieces from more than 20 contributors that explores women’s range of experiences with sport and sporting culture in Australia.
Focusing on a critically under-represented part of Australian culture—specifically the myriad ways non-male participants negotiate the traditionally male spectacle of athleticism—this collection interrogates the way sporting bodies and achievements are portrayed in Australian media and culture.
Understanding the term ‘sport’ in the broadest possible sense, and applying the definition of ‘women’ in the same way (to include trans, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex and otherwise non-cis women, as well as from and/or about queer, lesbian, and bisexual women), these essays examine the way women athletes’ experience are marginalised and under-reported, and attempt to de-centre the status quo of sports writing and commentary as dominated by male perspectives and expertise.
The pieces in the book take literary, historical, narrative, critical, experimental and personal approaches to their subject matter, as well as several that make use of reportage and interviews. Topics include:
- the sexualisation of women in surfing culture;
- the marginalisation of women in boxing;
- feminine performativity in ballet;
- life as an AFL spectator;
- structural disadvantage as experienced by a cyclist;
- social soccer's ins and outs;
- the power relations between female athletes and coaches;
- female-identifying athletes’ experience of homophobia;
- the aesthetics of televised sports.
Contributors include established sports writers and sports advocates like Brunette Lenkic, Imogen Smith, Jodi McAlister, Nicole Hayes, and Danielle Warby; academics and cultural critics such as Kasey Symons, Emma Jenkins and Erin Stewart; as well as writers published widely in books, magazines and newspapers including Ellen Van Neerven, Kate Doak, Holly Isemonger, Gina Rushton, Charlotte Guest, Katerina Bryant, Nadia Bailey, Savannah Indigo, Stephanie King, Laura Buzo, Roslyn Helper, and Rebecca Slater