Sweeping Away Old Age: Senior Men’s Curling, Masculinity, and Ageing Embodiment

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Kristi ALLAIN, St. Thomas University, Canada
In recent years, men’s curling, a sport historically linked to the bodies of older people, where older men (and women) can compete at highly competitive levels, has taken a youthful turn. In this work, we investigate this newly celebrated curling masculinity, one that valourizes the bodies and gender expressions of younger men, and the implications of this for older men who curl. We conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with older male curlers, attending to the ways this changing curling culture impacts their gender expressions and understandings of themselves and their aging bodies. We argue that older men express themselves as men through their participation in curling, and that the sport offers later life men a way to convey counter-hegemonic expressions of masculinity. However, given the nature of hegemony, these counter-hegemonic tendencies are unsurprisingly not total. The curlers we interviewed for this study use curling as a way to assert their own privileged form of masculine expression, one tied less to their aging bodies and instead linked to their intellectual pursuits. Exploring the intersections of class, gender and age in the under-researched sport of curling, this paper argues that older curlers alternately resist and reinforce curling’s new celebration of youth.