"Feminist dilemmas in how young women move"

Year: 1999

Author: Garrett, Robyne

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Feminist dilemmas in fieldwork challenge our work and integrity. They often revolve around power and tend to display contradictory and irreconcilable positions for the researcher. This paper discusses the experiences of a feminist researcher working with senior secondary girls in local metropolitan schools. The main aim of the fieldwork was to investigate the social construction of gender within the context of sport and physical activity. Specifically, the research intended to explore how the experiences and attitudes developed toward the body and physical activity through the Schooling years impact on any commitment to lifelong physical activity. Feminist researchers attempt to articulate their commitments and political priorities. They are moved by a commitment to women. For this reason fieldwork dilemmas can directly challenge the underlying tenets of their beliefs. Analysed here are the power relationships between the researcher and the participants as well as issues of empowerment for the participants in the light of feminist research goals. Whilst it is recognised that fieldwork is still useful and important, reconciling the contradictions between theory and practice can be a major challenge.