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The Pack is Here!
Transcript of The Pack is Here!
TRANSGENDER = an individual whose gender does not match their assigned birth gender
INTERSEX = a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sex anatomy that does not fit the typical definition of female or male.
GENDER EXPANSIVE = an umbrella term used for an individual who does not adhere to broadly common representations of gender including expression; associated identities; and/or perceived social norm.
The Rise, Spread, and Impact of the Roller Derby Movement
by Jay Gilliam
1. What factors facilitated the exponential spread of the sport from one U.S. league in 2001 to an estimated 1400 leagues, on six continents, in 2016?
2. What attracts women to (and what are the perceived benefits of participating in) roller derby?
3. Do the women participating in roller derby consider themselves and/or the sport to be inherently feminist?
4. Is the sport overtly political, and, if so, can roller derby be academically classified as a social movement?
5. If roller derby can be considered a social movement, was the evolution incidental?
"The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is committed to inclusive and anti-discrimination practices in relation to all transgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants [...] An individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, and/or gender expansive may skate with a WFTDA charter team if women's flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify."
2001 = 1 league in Austin, TX
2005 = founding of the WFTDA - 20 U.S. leagues
2016 = over 1400 on six continents
of women's roller derby
1. identify factor(s) that helped facilitate the exponential spread of the sport.
2. uncover the perceive benefits - if any - that participants derive from involvement in the sport.
3. determine if women's roller derby can be academically classified as a social movement.
First project to explicitly examine the geographic spread of the sport and explore roller derby as a political movement.
If flat-track roller derby becomes formally recognized as a political movement, this classification could make it one of the most prolific, multinational, and overlooked feminist movements in modern history, with over 25,000 women involved in the WFTDA alone and over 100,000 estimated globally.
This would not only add to the current literature in the fields of geography, sociology, women and gender studies, and any other field researching subversive subcultures, gender politics, and/or the formation of women-centric spaces and communities.
I will use this technique to objectively study inner workings of the ANGEL CITY DERBY GIRLS (ACDG) and the WFTDA to formally research the social politics of the organization and the larger roller derby subculture. As a member of the WFTDA and ACDG, I will attend any and all derby related practices, meetings, and functions that I am able and allowed to attend. Detailed field notes will be taken. My participant observation will be June 1st - December 31st.
I will be conducting 15-20 face-to-face interviews with WFTDA members, skaters, coaches, training staff, volunteers, and/or alumni skaters. Each interview will be 30-60 minutes in length. Interviews will be recorded on a digital audio recorder and later transcribed. These interviews will be recorded June 1st - December 31st
I will be conducting a detailed review of the literature on the following themes: roller derby, social movement, feminist theory, women's movements, queer theory, and feminist activism
1. Eligible participants will be: 18 years of age or older, legally able to grant informed consent, and members of a WFTDA (or related) women's roller derby league.
2. Participants will be primarily recruited from the Los Angeles area.
3. Potential participants will be recruited at derby related functions or contacted via email.
4. Informed consent will be granted in writing prior to interviews taking place.
I hypothesize that the sport of women's derby has developed into a social movement unintentionally, by acting as a platform for likeminded women to congregate, bond, rally, and enact personal (even social) change.
I hypothesize that, in recent years, this movement that has begun to extend beyond the borders of the larger roller derby community to affect change in the lives of women outside explicitly defined derby-space.