Derby Dames and Femme Fatales: A Qualitative Critical Analysis of Empowerment, Consumption and Representation in Roller Derby
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With the help of such performers as Drew Barrymore and Oscar winner Ellen Page, roller derby as a pastime and athletic competition is becoming more than a subcultural phenomenon. Roller derby holds an important symbolic role and social importance for participants. Through the use of ethnography, participant observation and discourse analysis, this thesis fills a void in subcultural and feminist studies by infusing a political economic argument to existing research. This study shows that through the organizations "DIY" structure, the sport may overcome the de-politicization and commodification of feminism that is common in the third wave, "girl power" trend. Still, while empowerment and agency are important to participants, male hegemonic views of femininity and sex appeal may create a culture of consumerism. This study has implications for feminist researchers and sheds light on situations in which apparent feminist empowerment belies a consumerist agenda.