Queering the box(e)


  • Elisa Virgilii




queer theory in sports, boxe, bodies, masculinity, femininity


This analysis starts with an ethnographic research (participant observation as a data collection method) that aims to compare two types of boxing gyms: a “commercial” gym (a gym that does not prepare a competitive level athletes but offers a fee based courses) and a “community” gym (usually in occupied spaces, often for free and it is based on shared values among athletes such as anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-ableism). The purpose of this part of the research is to investigate the construction of masculinity and femininity through the exercise of this discipline that is traditionally considered a masculine one in the two different contexts. The second part of the research will focus on the specificity of the “community” boxing gyms that are spreading more and more in recent years in Italy and that are forming a national network redefining the lines of this sport. In particular, the aspect on which we will focus is the discussion on the categories of masculine and feminine in the matches.

The proposal is to form the sports categories according to different parameters from those of biological sex and gender, in this particular case based on weight and height. This because biological sex does not necessarily match the gender and these are not binary. Unhinging these binaries would allow on the one side to avoid the medicalization practices still provided by IALF and by the CIO to bring certain bodies through the exercise of this discipline that is traditionally considered a masculine one the two categories (we refer here to the cases of intersex people undergo mandatory to hormonal treatments to confirm their competition category) and on the other to untie the sports categories from those gender.

Can “community” gyms change the rules of the sport? What is the relationship between sports categories and gender categories in the broadest sense? Does seconstructing the first have an effect on the latter?




How to Cite

Virgilii, E. (2018). Queering the box(e). Whatever. A Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theories and Studies, 1(1), 199–214. https://doi.org/10.13131/2611-657X.whatever.v1i1.8