Academic Absurdity of the Week: Sexist Ski Slopes?

Did you know that skiing is a sexist sport? It turns out that even the ski slopes themselves are sexist! Or something. As usual, it’s hard to make out exactly what’s being said. but you’ll never be able to ski down a steep mogul run again, never mind use fast wax on your totally-phallically skis (and don’t even ask about ski poles I think), without Freud in your head, according to this article in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport:

Constructing masculinized sportscapes: Skiing, gender and nature in British Columbia, Canada

Mark CJ Stoddart, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.


Sport sociology has provided a significant body of critical research on gender and social inequality within outdoor sport. Less attention is given to how the social construction of sport landscapes shapes gendered power relations. This article examines how skiing landscapes are constructed as masculinized spaces. The mountainous sublime is a site for performing athletic, risk-seeking masculinity.The backcountry and advanced terrain at ski resorts also appear as masculinized places. By contrast, less risky areas of the skiing landscape may be interpreted as ‘gender-neutral’ or feminized space. Through skiing, participants construct the meaning of gender and place, privileging masculinized versions of the sport.

As always, you can own a complete copy of this gem for a mere $36.

Special bonus! From the same issue of this estimable sports journal, did you know that media coverage of backcountry rescues somehow implicates . . . neoliberalism?!?! Yeah—it does, man:

Morality in the Mountains: Risk, Responsibility, and Neoliberalism in Newspaper Accounts of Backcountry Rescue

Jason Laurendeau, Sara Moroz, University of Lethbridge, Canada


In this article, we analyze Canadian newspaper coverage of recent events in which backcountry adventurers have found themselves in need of assistance from rescue organizations. We interrogate discourses of risk and responsibility, exploring the ways in which the media constructs these backcountry enthusiasts as responsible to and for specific (e.g., family) and generalized (e.g., society) others. These discourses, we argue, produce and reproduce neoliberal notions of risk management, constructing citizens as responsible for managing their “risk profiles.”

I can’t wait for their swimsuit issue.