Women’s Professional Sports and Title IX: An Anthropological Analysis




Sims, Kathleen M

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This thesis investigates the extent to which the enactment of Title IX in 1972 directly permitted the emergence of women’s professional sports organizations. I note the initial ambiguity as to Title IX’s applicability to women’s participation in organized athletics and the resistance leveled against Title IX’s enactment. I then analyze the establishment of women’s professional sports: women’s professional athletic organizations resulted not from Title IX but from the expansion of the neoliberal market. Women’s sports were positioned as advantageous to corporate investment via the confluence of the advent of the postfeminist era, the sociopolitical signification of hard bodies as representative of proper American citizenship, and the marketization of the women’s fitness market. The convergence of such developments served to discursively articulate women’s elite sports as financially profitable to corporate investors. I also reflect on the dominant scripts utilized to generate demand for women’s professional sports.



Title IX, Nike, Women's soccer, Postfeminism, Professional sports