Out of Play: Critical Essays on Gender and Sport
Michael A. Messner
Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007. Photographs, tables, bibliography, index. 227 pp. $28.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780791471722
In Out of Play, Michael Messner tells a fascinating story about the gender dynamics at play in late twentieth-century organized sports. His collected essays, all previously published articles spanning the years 1988 to 2006, address the serious ramifications of play in the arena of highly competitive sports. Written in clear compelling prose, Messner's eleven chapters range in subject from children's soccer leagues to high-school athletics and professional sport. The brilliance of Messner's volume lies in its ability to combine analysis of materially based institutional structures and media- based representations that together project the gender ideologies that at any given moment help constitute the world of sports. Moreover, Messner's macroanalysis is paired with sensitive interpretations of the many meanings of sport for individuals, whether as young athletes, seasoned professionals, or armchair spectators.