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By Ami Stearns. However, in this post, Ami Stearns suggests that female-only mud runs have a downside.

While mud runs and dirty obstacle courses could be sites where the gender binary is challenged, more often the women-only runs serve as sites where normative gender performativity takes place.

My sister, Witg, is a beast. Her husband and three kids have even gotten in on the action by participating in past mud runs with her.

The rising popularity of muddy obstacle courses can provide locations where females show that their strength and endurance capabilities equal those of males, and demonstrate to their daughters that getting dirty and playing in the mud is socially acceptable behavior for women. Interestingly, an off-shoot of these obstacle courses has been marketed specifically to females.

While women-only mud runs can provide a space to break gender norms, most of these events seem mired in the muck of normative or traditional femininity.

Some examples of normative femininity include wearing pink, excessive attention to body adornment and body size, exhibiting nurturing and empathetic qualities, and caregiving. In the s, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote about the physical restrictions put on women, as if they were ornamental birds trapped in a cage.

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The researchers suggested that gender was a process accomplished by everyday interactions, rather than being an inborn womah. Co-ed mud runs are structured to allow for gender-neutral physical activity.

However, when these events are formatted to cater exclusively to women, gender stereotypes- though disguised with mud- are reinforced. Running clothes are often pink, complemented with tiaras, boa feathers, and tutus in some cases.

Even the race names transmit normative cultural conceptions of male and female.

Dirty Girl Mud Run Series is a mile (ish) obstacle course run for women of all fitness levels. The women only event inspire fabulous females to run, walk. Lace up your shoes to get down right dirty. These women-only mud runs will challenge you, but also make you laugh so much that you just. Dirty Girl is a 5k mud run for women of all ages and athletic abilities. Forming teams is encouraged, and so is helping your fellow Dirty Girls get through to the Looking to enter an obstacle course race like the Spartan or Tough Mudder.

Mud run participants number in the hundreds of thousands across the country and continue to sell out wherever they take place. While females can and should take advantage of messy, dirty, physical pursuits, the take-away question here is why must the gendering of a mud run occur at all?

In no way am I implying women wmoan not wear pink, run in tiaras and skirts, crawl through the mud with their girlfriends, or celebrate with hair treatments at the finish line. I am suggesting that we simply take a critical look at the stereotypical assumptions underlying women-only races. My sister continues to inspire me with her weekend warrior races, as she also inspires her own daughters to get out and get messy.

I have a feeling Mary Wollstonecraft would approve. Dig Deeper: Take the opposite approach of this blog post and argue that the women-only events are empowering and affirming for women and girls. Read tk following article about Kathrine Switzer and explain how she broke gender boundaries in the Boston Marathon.

Think of another event, product, etc.

Compare and contrast the websites of Pretty Muddy and Warrior Dash. How are the websites and races the same and how are they different?

What different imagery and symbols do they use? Dirty Women: Sociology in focus.

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