Male outdoor educators’ understandings of masculinity in practice: a North American case study
Doctor of Philosophy
SubjectHegemonic masculinity (Outdoor education)
Gender and masculinity
Masculinity in outdoor education
MetadataShow full item record
This exploratory, single embedded case study examined male outdoor educators’ understandings of masculinity in the field and how such notions impact their practices. Data were collected via interviews (n = 18), observations of outdoor leaders’ practice (n = 8), and artifactual data provided by participants’ employers. Qualitative coding and analysis techniques were employed within a framework shaped by hegemonic masculinity theory and informed by critical feminist theory. Findings indicate that these male outdoor leaders were expanding their skills to include non-traditional gender practices in response to professional demands. They also indicated a willingness to confront sexist language and behaviour of their students. However, despite many participants’ claims of progressive gender ideals, all demonstrated stereotypical masculine performances, essentialist beliefs, and/or blinkered viewpoints. The apparent contradiction may reflect that nearly all participants expressed confused or vague ideas about what it means to be a man and a perception that the culture is changing rapidly, leading some to claim that they have been vilified. Participants’ take on gender equity also largely dovetailed with their employers’ training and resourcing. It is recommended that outdoor organizations continue to enhance their work on gender equity and that organizations and outdoor leaders consider collective, rather than individualistic, approaches to promoting gender equity and cultivating space for diverse gender performances.