“It used to be called an old man’s game”: Masculinity, ageing embodiment and senior curling participation

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Kristi A. Allain
Barbara L. Marshall


The sport of curling, popular among older populations in Canada and conventionally imagined as a sport for older people, offers an important window into what it means to be an older man participating in sport. While researchers have extensively studied expressions of youthful masculinity in sport culture, scholarship about the confluence of gender expression and old age in sport is much rarer. Using Connell and Messerschmidt’s (2005) reconfiguration of hegemonic masculinity, and drawing on 19 interviews with older men who curl in mid-sized Canadian towns, we argue that later-life men negotiate complex models of appropriate masculinity that borrow from hegemonic exemplars available in earlier life, deploying certain forms of intellectual, class and gender privilege to do so. At the same time, they disrupt these hegemonies through an emphasis on interdependence, caring relationships and the acceptance of bodily limitations.



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