Gender In The Horse Racing Society

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In the year 60 CE Boadicea of the Iceni tribe roused her armies to revolt against Roman rule. Ultimately she was defeated, but this warrior queen and her legendary scythed chariots became a feminist icon nonetheless (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017). She rode her horses on the Heath of Suffolk-Cambridgeshire, a location that centuries later would become the stage for the Newmarket horseracing society. This masculine society sharply contrasts with its female-powered past, as the horse racing business seems to be a “man’s world”. Rebecca Cassidy, in her book The Sport of Kings, an anthropological study of the Newmarket horseracing society, describes her findings after integrating into the community. While gender is not a main subject in the book, there are many instances that expose a clear gender division in the horse racing culture. When applying Elinor Och’s (1992) gender indexing theory, it becomes clear that in the community gender is asymmetrical in a social sense. Cassidy reveals this asymmetrical relation between the male and female genders in the Newmarket horse racing society, which is upheld through the use of masculine language and its conservative treatment of tradition gender roles. The Newmarket horseracing business is, and has always been, a male-centred community, as can be seen from its language use. It is closely affiliated with the Jockey Club, about which, in the introduction of The Sport of Kings, Cassidy (2002) says: “the Jockey Club was established in
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