More than Fun and Games: Cell 16, Female Liberation, and Physical Competence, or Why Sport Matters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Active in the Boston area from 1968 to 1974, members of the radical feminist organization Cell 16 advocated for a number of important causes, including martial arts training for women. In sparking the era’s feminist self-defence movement, they argued that learning to fight was ‘an absolutely necessary step in eradicating male supremacy and dominance’. Cell 16ers maintained that women had been conditioned to be docile, dependent, and ‘pitifully weak’, which not only made them easy targets for abuse, but also sustained their second-class status. More to the point, they recognized that denying girls and women opportunities in sport made them physically ineffectual. By developing ‘physical competence’, women could break free from the bonds that subjugated them to their subordinate roles. Theorized along the broader spectrum of physical competence, this analysis of Cell 16 offers an alternative way to think about why sport matters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1552-1573
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume36
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 12 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'More than Fun and Games: Cell 16, Female Liberation, and Physical Competence, or Why Sport Matters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this