Mountains have long been dominated by men and hypermasculine practices. Women have worked hard to find a legitimate space in them. This paper is drawn from a qualitative study which explores the experiences of 10 women, based in Scotland, who have dedicated part of their lives to mountains. It adds to existing insights on women who have made inroads into mountaineering. Conceptualising mountaineering as a social field structured by masculine domination, the paper seeks to understand the conditions which have enabled the women to successfully embody a disposition to mountaineering over time and interrogates how the women’s practices represent a challenge to the continuing dominance of men and hypermasculine narratives that prevail in this field. The paper shows that a number of structural changes in wider society and in mountaineering have enabled women to claim a mountaineering identity but that the field continues to be inflected by narratives of exclusion.
- masculinity, mountaineering, embodiment, gender, performativity, disposition