Écuyères and 'doing gender'. Presenting Femininity in a Male Domain - Female Circus Riders 1800-1920

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Écuyères and 'doing gender'. Presenting Femininity in a Male Domain - Female Circus Riders 1800-1920

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Écuyères and 'doing gender'. Presenting Femininity in a Male Domain - Female Circus Riders 1800-1920
Author(s) Hedenborg, Susanna ; Pfister, Gertrud
Date 2012
English abstract
The purpose of this article is to analyse gender relations in equestrianism from the be- ginning of the 19th to the first decades of the 20th century. Focus will be on the female horse riding circus artists, the écuyères. The fact that women were circus riders at this time is interesting as in many parts of the world and in many epochs, horses have played a significant role in the lives of men. Traditionally men used horses in agriculture, for- estry, the transport sector and in the army and a real man was a horseman. Widespread practices and, in particular, the symbolic correlation between masculinity and horseman- ship conveys the impression that women had nothing to do with horses. This is true for many situations. The circus arena, however, seems to have been an exception as women could perform there. At the heart of the performances was not only equestrianism, but also the notion of gender. It is even likely that ”doing gender” was an indispensable part of the show, as the allure of the écuyères depended on the embodiment and presentation of seemingly incompatible features: beauty, grace and femininity as well as mastery of an art that was a traditionally male domain.
Link http://www.sportstudies.org/content/vol_3_2012/025-047_vol_3_2012_hedenborg_pfister.pdf (external link to publication)
Publisher Malmö högskola, Idrottsvetenskap
Host/Issue Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum;
Volume 3
ISSN 2000-088x
Pages 25-47
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Gender
Circus
Equestrian sport
History
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/13652 (link to this page)

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