Torisha Stone

Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Renèe Byrd

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Jennifer Eichstedt

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



While sociology of sport has been growing steadily over the last few decades, with an increased focus on how sports participation allow for active identity construction, research on roller derby is incredibly limited. I argue that research on roller derby provides an important window for understanding gendered sports construction and participation. Derby also provides a space where identities are created through performance in addition to the creation of unique personas or in some cases primary identities. In this study, I conducted 15 semi-structured open ended interviews using non-probability and snowball sampling techniques of a rural roller derby league as well as participant observation for just over one year. Interviews revealed that skaters often identified heavily with their roller derby identity but also experience contention about what the derby community and derby athlete should look like, particularly in relation to what skaters wore during bouts. Participants were quick to assert they do not care how others present themselves, but also carried hegemonic ideas of femininity, embodiment, and sport identities where hyper-femininity and sexuality was often rejected for a more masculine or “legitimate” sporting identity. The reproduction of hierarchies and oppression that exist in derby are important to consider when viewing and athletic, derby, identity since these identities develop in a sport predominately created by, and for, women.

Citation Style