Performative Female Boxing Embodiment

This paper draws upon data generated by an autoethnographic research project on sporting embodiment within the physical cultures of boxing. The researcher, H, actively started participating in women’s boxing in the Midlands (UK) with an aim to become a fully-fledged insider member of a boxing club in 2012. The methods of data collection and analysis included keeping very detailed and critical field notes in personal logs and reflective journals. Commensurate with a phenomenological approach, lived, corporeal experiences of boxing are portrayed through the use of vignettes. Key findings are grounded in the researcher’s female lived-body, with a focus on the gendered dimensions of embodiment, as well as the intense and heightened sensorial forms of embodiment encountered in the physical and masculinist cultures of boxing. Analyses of the findings draw upon this previous research which includes rich detail of carnal experience to explore the intense and heightened sensorial aspects whereby the hard-contact, bloodying, bruising, sensory dimensions of boxing strongly emerge. Findings of this research offer a greater understanding through a critical analysis of female sporting embodiment with an aim to generate potent insights to the female boxing experiences as lived and felt in the flesh.

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