Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

James M. Thomas

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Jackson

Third Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger

Relational Format



Previous research has investigated black women in mass feminized sports cultures and spaces such as gymnastics, beauty pageants, and cheerleading, finding patterns of hegemonic ideals and the preference for "white" standards. I expand the narrative to include the twirling culture by investigating how female twirlers, and in particular black female twirlers, perform and embody femininity and whiteness. Using data from ten (10) semi-structured interviews and observations of three baton-twirling competitions, I investigate how female baton twirlers competing in one of the largest American baton twirling organizations embody femininity, as well as negotiate raced and gendered criteria in what I call the "winner's circle." I further explore how blackness, sexuality, and gender are mediated and negotiated in and through women's bodies within the arena of baton twirling.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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