Feminist Sports Studies and Genre Criticism
In approaching this book I am reminded of a dated " Sylvia" comic strip in which the title character is presented with the following conundrum: "Can you be a feminist and still like men?" She responds: "Yeah, like you can be a vegetarian and still eat fried chicken."
Like Sylvia, feminist critics have been presented with similar conundrums. In her book, Soap Opera and Women's Talk, Mary Ellen Brown ( 1994) questions if she can be an intellectual and still like soap operas. In a chapter on sport in The Knowledge Explosion, Carole Oglesby and Christine Shelton ( 1992), ask if they can be academics and still like sports. Of course, the answer to both questions is "yes." Brown has reconciled that not only can she be an intellectual and still like soap operas, but that she can conduct an ethnography of soap opera fans and even include herself as a member of the ethnographic group. Oglesby and Shelton have reconciled that academic feminists can approach the study of sport from a scholarly perspective and still enjoy the recreational aspects of a sporting life.
This chapter provides the theoretical grounding for the book by offering an overview of these two academic areas: genre criticism, which includes soap opera, and feminist sports criticism. In the area of feminist sports criticism, I offer a review and critique of the mass media's coverage of women and sport, including how the media have contributed to the marginalization of women's sports and