Women's emergence in extreme sports has become increasingly common over the past few years. This thesis examines the cultural meanings and representation of women through the lens of snowboarding. It also focuses on styles of dress, the "snowboarder image," and other markers of identity among participants. This thesis begins with an overview of the previous studies that have covered topics of women in extreme sports, the appeal of snowboarding, and snowboarder style. The snowboarding culture is investigated further using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of capital and Michael Messner's theory on gender in sports. Data collection was conducted using three methods: content analysis of snowboard magazines, participant observation at ski resorts, and twelve interviews with male and female snowboarders. Male snowboarders considered the sport to be equal for both genders, but females felt snowboarding's male-dominance. This resulted in a male privilege that male snowboarders did not realize exists. Snowboarder appearance is changing from dark, grunge styles to bright, flashy styles, hinting at a feminine influence. This thesis explores the morphing of the female snowboarder identity through a masculine gaze.


McConnell, David


Sociology and Anthropology



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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