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Coming On Strong: Gender And Sexuality In Twentieth-Century Women'S Sports Hardcover – January 10, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cahn, who teaches history at the State University of New York, here reworks her Ph.D. dissertation and comes up with a winner. Readers will be either amused or infuriated by her discussion of patronizing male attitudes toward the moral and physical dangers of female athletic activity during the 19th and early 20th centuries. And while subsequent years brought more enlightenment, women athletes have always had extra obstacles to overcome: in the 1920s and '30s, physical ed teachers preached "moderation," downplaying or banning competitive sport. The '40s and '50s were marked by the attitude that all sports were mannish and the women who excelled in them were probably lesbians; it also brought the WW II phenomenon of the short-lived All-American Girls Baseball League. Following the '60s, a decade of progress and acceptance, women are still trying to wrest control over their athletic activities from men.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In roughly chronological order, Cahn (history, SUNY-Buffalo) illuminates issues of race, class, and gender in an entertaining social history that exposes society's pervasive infrastructure of male dominance. In a depressing litany of restrictions against women in athletics, Cahn illustrates her theme that the acceptance of athleticism as a masculine trait is only socially constructed and, thus, changeable. On the individual level, athletes often have to resolve differences between their love for sports and society's disapproval. By interviewing elite athletes, she explores compulsory heterosexuality and femininity. Special scrutiny is given to black track and field athletes, basketball, pro baseball, and lesbians. This book does in a scholarly way what Mariah Nelson's Are We Winning Yet? ( LJ 2/1/91) did in a more popular vein. The copious notes are a researcher's gold mine. Recommended for all academic libraries, community college through graduate level.
- Kathy Ruffle, Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, B.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (January 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029050758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029050750
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vince Prygoski on May 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is among the ones I keep returning to in my work as a writer and scholar on women's sports. Cahn does an excellent job of not only telling the history of women's sports in the twentieth century, but also connecting that history to the broader social trends and struggles over issues such as gender roles, race, and sexuality. Cahn's research is of the highest quality, and many of the endnotes contain additional interesting information.

I highly recommend this book to anyone concerned with gender equity or feminism, especially as regards sports.

--Vince Prygoski, author of "Worst to First, or, a 'Shock'ing tale of Women's Basketball in Motown"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides a through tour of the history of women in sports, not individuals, but rather the policys of women playing sports. Topics such as who should control the sport (and the women!), promotional and commercial sports vs. for-fitness-only sports, and the debates about if sports made men 'manly' then would they make women 'manly' too?
Many readers will find the abundance of historical information hard to read, but I highly suggest making the effort if you want a good understanding of just how far women have had to go to play the games they love!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C.A. Stockman on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
An excellent book for women who love sports or for those interested in womens studies. A must for coaches and pre Title 9 thinkers!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joo Y. Lee on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book was just like a new book when it arrived. I liked it because there were no marks or anything.
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