• "You’re in the boxing ring and it’s just the two of you and it’s sort of survival" - The quest for excitement in professional female Muay Thai boxing

      Pritchard, Ian; Phipps, Catherine (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      Using a figurational sociological approach, this research analyses the motivations of professional female Muay Thai boxers in training and competition, and ways in which they negotiate their elite status in a male-associated sport. To do this, I draw on fourteen semi-structured interviews to analyse the extent to which females in Muay Thai experience a quest for excitement. It is suggested females are motivated to participate as the sport acts as an emotional and physical outlet and is used as a means to gain mimetic satisfactions which men have originally acquired through sports. The participants in this study experienced pleasurable, de-routinising satisfactions associated with taking part in an activity that is considered male-dominated and masculine. Female Muay Thai boxers’ experiences of the quest for excitement also incorporate a desire for gender equality by resisting traditional female roles which are often more routinised, and feminine-appropriate sports which can lack in physical contact. Although they experienced enjoyment through their involvement in a male-associated sport, participants often placed emphasis on their femininity to counteract their success. Overall it is argued females can experience a specifically gendered quest for excitement in Muay Thai which differs to men’s experiences. This research supplements the minimal existing research on females in martial arts and serves as a comparison to literature on men’s and women’s experiences of the quest for excitement.