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Playing for GodEvangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry$
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Annie Blazer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479898015

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898015.001.0001

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Wearing Our Shorts a Little Longer

Wearing Our Shorts a Little Longer

Testing the Boundaries of Evangelical Femininity

(p.103) 4 Wearing Our Shorts a Little Longer
Playing for God

Annie Blazer

NYU Press

Female Christian athletes employ different self-display choices in different contexts, revealingfemininity as a social construct requiring ongoing performance. They also work very hard to maintain a sense of essential gender difference, and this contradiction has opened a space for evangelical female athletes to reflect on their religious tradition’s expectations regarding women’s bodies. From the college cafeteria to church to campus ministry meetings, female Christian athletes can feel a heightened obligation to project femininity because they are painfully aware that their identity as athletes stands in tension with their identity as evangelical women. Given these sometimes uncomfortable negotiations of self-display, sports ministry serves an important role for these women. It can allow them to temporarily suspend their sense of obligatory feminine self-display because it is an environment where evangelical assumptions like inherent gender differences and heterosexuality go without saying. Participating in sports ministry can provide an environment where the assumption of shared values creates a haven from the work of constructing a feminine appearance.

Keywords:   femininity, performance, self-display, gender, women, heterosexuality, female athlete

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