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Female Wrestlers: Grappling the Head Locks of Oppression

  • Author(s): Cecchine, Terri
  • Advisor(s): Mireles-Rios, Rebeca
  • et al.
Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between female athletes and their coaches. In particular, this study focuses on the perceptions of both coaches and athletes of Title IX and the treatment and experiences of females participating in male dominated sports. Seventy-Eight female high school wrestlers (mean age 16), were interviewed and surveyed about their thoughts and feelings of participating in a male dominated sport and how that experience shaped their thoughts of self. In addition, seven high school wrestling coaches from seven different schools were interviewed about their perspective of women in the sport, how has it changed over the last ten years, as well as how women are gaining accessibility and adding advantages to a traditionally, and physically male sport. Findings indicate that through battling male dominance and remaining persistent through physical pain and social oppression, women are creating a new idea of what it means to be an athletic woman, and what it means to be both mentally and physically strong. Implications from this study can provide coaches with a better understanding of how to approach the increasing number of female athletes. This is especially critical in the realm of physical sports, where women are carving out a space of their own as the mixed martial arts are gaining popularity.

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