Cultural Anthropology Professor and Children and Youth Studies Director Katie Rose Hejtmanek from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Natural and Behavioral Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Melissa Forbis from the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, in collaboration with Noelle Brigden, a Political Scientist at Marquette University, are pleased to announce their new book, Gender and Power in Strength Sports. 

The book explores strength sports as a site of political contestation and a platform for insurgent gender practices. Chapters include work on transgender policies, trauma-informed strength training, military imperialism, and fitness practices, the pregnant athlete, and white supremacy and ideal bodies. 

Drawing together interdisciplinary work spanning political science, sociology, gender studies, and biological and cultural anthropology, the book argues that in the face of ongoing embodied precarity, strength sports have become a complex form of both resistance to, and reproduction of, patriarchy. This argument also challenges traditional understandings and definitions of “strength.” 

Covering recreational-level participation and elite athletics, across experiential/individual, local, national, transnational, and global scales, the work explores diverse topics such as the pregnant strength athlete, the status of trans women in strength sports, and the gendered dimensions of online fitness communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In so doing, it traces power dynamics and the interplay among multiple oppressions. 

Hejtmanek, Forbes, Brigden, and another contributor Cara Ocobock, University of Notre Dame, will be hosting a Zoom event to discuss the book on November 28, 6 p.m. as part of the “New Books by BC Faculty” series of events. Please register here: