After reading Finley’s journal on the role of the Women’s
Roller Derby, a part that I found interesting was the argument that the roller derby
scene provides a dynamic alternative to the feminities which are socially
constructed. The derby is an example of how women alter settings through a
process leading to gender maneuvering. Finley mentions, “‘hegemonic feminity’
is conceptually useful for identifying how gender order is maintained,” (361).  This is quit interesting due to the fact that
hegemony is a main focus sociologically when discussing gender roles.

Two distinct points are made
through the article; the main focus is how society is constructed. Hegemonic
masculinity has become dominate through cultural practices, discursive centrality,
and marginalization of alternatives (Finley 360). This concept was a part of
R.W. Connell’s gender order theory, which recognizes multiple masculinities.
Dominance is a main part of the gender order theory due to the gender
identities that were developed in society.

Around the world in almost every
society males are seen as more powerful just based off of their gender. Connell
points out the change in labeling females from “hegemonic” to “emphasized”
which shows unequal position the patriarchal gender order ((Connell and
Messerschmidt 2005) Finley 360). Hegemonic feminity is a term used to advocate
the dominant qualities in a woman. Society portrays a woman as a homemaker or submissive
to males in her life which reflects the change to emphasized femininity. Women
must conform to the needs and desires of men.  Characteristics of hegemonic femininity are
obedience, dependence, and passivity. Changing the concept from hegemonic to
emphasized makes you believe that femininity is valued less than masculinity in
society.

Messerschmidt’s theory of social
action mentions, social structures evolve, shift, and change over time which
the interactions between genders change (Interesectionality and Structured
Action Theory-lecture). The development of the alternative feminities lead to
the rejection of hegemonic relations. Alternative femininities are resistive
because the disrupt relations of male dominance, whereas pariah feminities are
stigmatized and less threatening to hegemonic gender relations (Finley 362).
Gender maneuvering negotiates the rules of gender to redefine masculinity and
femininity. Some femininities benefit individual women through ways that some
may not agree with. Finley includes examples such as, “withholding sexual
favors for economic stability only works when one can stigmatize those who do
not negotiate similarly,” (363). Being labeled as a “derby girl”, constructively
disrupts gender maneuvering due to the alteration of feminity. “Construction of
the derby girl as an alternative feminity establishes new patterns for gendered
interactions in the setting that does not replicate hegemonic gender
relations,” (Finley 371). Leading to the idea that femininities are correlated
with masculinity.

 

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