Gender, body culture, and body politics in National Socialism

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Geschlecht, Koerperkultur und Koerperpolitik im Nationalsozialismus
Author:Pfister, Gertrud; Reese, Dagmar
Published in:Sport science review
Published:4 (1995), 1 , S. 91-121, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Print resource
Online Access:
Identification number:PU199505101262

Author's abstract

The development of physical exercise for girls and women has always been connected to the discourse on the female body in manifold and interdependent ways. In this context the body is to be viewed as contributing to the development and maintenance of power structures and gender relationships. Movement culture (e.g., Turnen and sport) also occupies a central role in genderization; the opportunities for scope of action are distributed according to gender in every society and lead to the embodiment of the symbolically conveyed gender duality. By means of the respectice movement culture the body is shaped to correspond to the demands and ideals of society. The example of National Socialism (NS) will be used to outline the interconnections between exercise for women, deliberations about the female body, and body politics and women's politics. It is particularly suitable for an analysis of these complex interconnections because the body and phyical fitness were important not only in NS ideology but also in its political realization. Ns body and gender ideology, in particular its acceptance by large parts of the population, can only be understood in the ligth of biologistic concepts whose roots go back to the 19th century. The example of the League of German Girls will be used to show the significance of sport within an NS oragnization and its effects on the girls involved. Finally, an overview of women's top-level sport will exemplify the discrepancy between ideology and politics. Verf.-Referat