It’s Not about the Fish: Women’s Experiences in a Gendered Recreation Landscape

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Department of Social Sciences


We analyzed the recreational fishing experiences of 15 Michigan women using photovoice, a feminist participatory methodology. The combination of individual photography, facilitated group discussion, and community presentations provided unique settings for participants to share and compare their fishing experiences and self-reflections in a meaningful, participant-driven context. A minority among recreational anglers, women are poorly understood and often portrayed by contemporary fishing media as secondary to, or in competition with, the dominant male experience. We demonstrate how photovoice, as a feminist and participatory process, facilitates the emergence of previously unacknowledged histories and new self-reflections for these women and other women in their social networks. For the women who participated in this study, fishing provides a means for self-empowerment despite gendered cultural expectations. Further, we analyze how the meanings these women make through fishing align with ecofeminist framings of gendered empowerment.

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© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Leisure Sciences