Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Queering the Cage
by Lopez, Samantha, M.A., California State University, Los Angeles, 2019, 64; 13886177
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative case study explored the fitness and gender norms that are created in exercise spaces, specifically focusing on a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fitness center in Orange County, California. It is important to explore the fitness and gender norms at an MMA fitness center to understand their ideas of gender and fitness as a community. As a member of this fitness center, I collected data in the form of interviews and observations. Participants in this study were ages 18 and above and are active members of the MMA fitness center, including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) athletes, MMA competitors, coaches, class instructors, or class attendees. Interviews and reflective field notes were coded using Queer Theory (Britzman, 2005) and Communities of Practice (CoP) theory (Wenger, 1998) as a lens for my analyses in identifying heterosexual norms, masculinity, and gender norms in an MMA fitness center community. The findings of this study highlight how MMA fitness centers reinforce heterosexual norms and toxic masculinity, while also providing a space for community building. I also identified the importance of social media in representing ideas of MMA spaces. Queer Theory and CoP can help guide future research on exploring the gender and fitness norms that are created in MMA spaces. My positionality as the researcher and member of the MMA fitness center, I have voiced my efforts in disrupting these gender and fitness norms of heteronormativity to make the spaces more inclusive of all identities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mattheis, Allison
Commitee: Tejeda, Carlos, Keslacy, Stefan, Lind, Sonja, Snow, Ann
School: California State University, Los Angeles
Department: Applied and Advanced Studies in Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical education, Gender studies, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: Communities of practice, Fitness, Gender, Masculinity, Mixed martial arts, Queer
Publication Number: 13886177
ISBN: 9781085606806
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