Women and Fitness in American Culture

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About the Book

This book explores common representations and experiences of American fitness. It takes women’s experiences as the center of inquiry toward an understanding of the function of fitness in our lives and in our culture-at-large. Ranging from 1968 to the present, from Jane Fonda to WiiFit, from revolution to institutionalization, from personal to political, and beyond, this book considers a broad range of topics from an interdisciplinary perspective: generations, cultural appropriation, community development, choreography, methodology, healing, and social justice. Drawing on her experience as a cultural theorist, educator and fitness instructor, the author offers critical and creative approaches that reveal the limitations and possibilities of fitness. The book enables readers to think about their own relationship to fitness as well as the more abstract meanings of the term, and suggests the idea that fitness has some potential to transform our worlds—if we’re willing to do the work(out).

About the Author(s)

Sarah Hentges is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Maine at Augusta. She teaches courses and writes about American studies, literature and culture, and women’s studies. For more about the author, visit her blog, Culture & Movement.

Bibliographic Details

Sarah Hentges
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7480-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1399-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Preface  1
Introduction  3

One. Tensions: Form and Function  13
Two. Tools and Trade  61
Three. Toward a Theory of Feminist Fitness  90
Four. Edges/Bodies and Minds  135
Five. Transformations  179
Appendix: Fitness Terms, Products and Personalities  225
Chapter Notes  229
Works Cited  239
Index  247

Book Reviews & Awards

“illuminating…highly recommended”—Choice.