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Study Exploring Female Bodybuilding Nominated for BBC Award

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Dr Tanya Bunsell, Lecturer in Sport Sociology at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, has been nominated for an award for her research exploring the everyday lives of female bodybuilders. Following on from the publication of her book Strong and Hard Women: An ethnography of female bodybuilding last year, Dr Bunsell was nominated for the BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed Award for Ethnography. The book explores the ways in which muscular women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox feminine activities and appearances. As part of her two-year study in the south of England, Dr Bunsell spoke to 26 female bodybuilders who told how both men and women reacted to them in disgust, discomfort, anger and threat. The controversial nature of female bodybuilding is explored in this pioneering study. The award is funded by Thinking Allowed and the British Sociological Association (BSA) and recognises research into the analysis of groups and sub-cultures. The book was recently discussed on Radio 4 along with research from the other nominees. Of her nomination Dr Bunsell said, “I feel honoured that my work was short-listed for this award – particularly in view of the fascinating array of poignant ethnographies that were submitted. I am delighted that ethnographic research is receiving recognition and being celebrated in this way.” Image courtesy of Rebecca Andrews Photography
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