The Image of Women in Physical Fitness: An Anthropological Perspective

Jessica A. Skolnikoff, The College of Wooster


The purpose of this study is to explore the current concept of physical fitness and how women have adapted to fit this concept. The sociological and anthropological aspects of sport and leisure time, and certain themes of American culture were reviewed in the research for this paper. This thesis correlates American cultural standards of women and the symbols women portray by using Anettte Kolodny's and Will Wright's ideas of American culture. The works of anthropologists Victor Turner, Clifford Geertz and Pam Frese provide insight into how symbols work within cultures. The methodology of the researcher was conducted through participant observation at the Fresh Start Fitness Club. Questionnaires were distributed to women members of the club and club members were interviewed. The data collected makes it possible to understand the motivation and goals of the women who joined the club in order to participate in fitness .


© Copyright 1989 Jessica A. Skolnikoff