Critical gymnastics literature suggests that a specific and narrowly defined body aesthetic is, in part, to blame for a range of serious health and well-being issues observed amongst female gymnasts. The leotard, a vital component of this ideal body aesthetic, has received relatively little scholarly attention which we suggest reflects a wider lack of focused attention towards gymnasts’ subjective or phenomenological experiences of their bodies. In this chapter we draw from an 18-month ethnographic study of British trampoline gymnasts’ bodily experiences told through their body narratives. We draw upon Frank’s (2013) body typology to explore the moments of body-self construction, unity, and disruption as the trampoline gymnasts respond to action problems in various social contexts. We illuminate moments of body-self disruption as gymnasts experience puberty and body dissatisfaction highlighting the role of the leotard in these experiences. We close by suggesting that the focus on gymnastic body problems requires more self-conscious and reflexive solutions and encourage researchers and practitioners to enable gymnasts to tell stories in an ethical endeavour to find more liveable relations with their bodies.
|Title of host publication||Women's artistic gymnastics|
|Subtitle of host publication||socio-cultural perspectives|
|Editors||Roslyn Kerr, Natalie Barker-Ruchti, Carly Stewart, Gretchen Kerr|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Apr 2020|
|Name||Women, Sport and Physical Activity|