Through my research I examine the ways issues of power operate when physical culture intersects with gender and other identity markers – including ethnicity, race, age and national identities. I focus on the ways that peoples’ engagement with physical culture impacts the ways they come to understand themselves and others within particular gender dynamics.
For the past several years, I have examined what it means when Canada presents itself, both to itself and others, as a nation that plays hockey. I have examined how Canadian hockey-style masculinity (a style of play predicated on roughness and physical aggression, as well as the disavowal of all things feminine), impacts the ways non-North American athletes competing in the CHL are understood by their North American counterparts. I have examined the ways that this style of appropriate masculinity has been linked to representations of Canadian hockey icon Sidney Crosby and expressed through CBC’s Coach’s Corner broadcasts with Don Cherry.
Soon, I will begin work on a new project. Building on the aforementioned work, I will investigate the experiences of women in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), examining the various ways that women, in their roles as mothers and CHL employees, work to reproduce and/or challenge dominant ideas of masculinity.
I am currently completing another research project examining the relationships between gender, aging, embodiment and fitness. This project studies how men and women over the age of 50 years come to understand their bodies through leisure fit activities – such as non-competitive bike riding, working out at local fitness centres, engaging in recreational team sports etc. Early findings suggest that gender identities are particularly important to the ways men and women understand their bodies in later life.