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Article
Child athletes and athletic objectification
Journal of Sport and Social Issues
  • Nadine Cameron, La Trobe University
  • Lynne McPherson, Southern Cross University
  • Prue Atkins, La Trobe University
  • Matthew Nicholson, La Trobe University
  • Maureen Long, La Trobe University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2017
Peer Reviewed
Peer-Reviewed
Abstract
This article examines the risks associated with conceptualizing the child athlete’s body primarily in aesthetic terms and as an instrument of sporting victory, and develops a concept of “athletic objectification.” It draws on a recent research project involving Australian males and females aged between 18 and 25 who participated in organized sport as children. It identifies socially prevalent beliefs and values to which the athletic objectification of children may be partially attributed. These include the orthodoxy that sport is inherently good for children’s development, and the particular valorization of sporting success and gendered expectations that characterize Western society. It concludes with the argument that serving children’s best interests in sport requires that their broader psychosocial needs are given priority above the shortterm development of their athletic capacity.
Citation Information

Cameron, N, McPherson, L, Atkins, P, Nicholson, M & Long, M 2017, 'Child athletes and athletic objectification', Journal of Sport and Social Issues, vol. 41, no.3, pp. 175-190.

Published version available from:

https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0193723517705544