The Jockey Club Analysis

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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,…show more content…
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 1750 as a gentlemen’s club”. While now used as a synonym for strip clubs, gentlemen’s club historically were a place for male members of the upper class to socialise. Women were not allowed in these kinds of clubs, nor were underprivileged men. The founding of this club was the start of the Newmarket horseracing community, and thus also the start of its unbalanced treatment of the male and female genders. While nowadays women are allowed to join the club – Cassidy mentions Princess Anne, the Queen and the Queen Mother to be substantial racehorse owners – it remains male-oriented, with 89% of its 112 members being male (Cassidy, 2002). About this Cassidy says: “Racing is controlled by men, and this situation is self-perpetuating. Accordingly, women in racing are often seen as strident and self-assured, having struggled against this bias.” She also claims that successful women are often labelled as “brash” and “unfeminine” by the powerful men in the racing industry (2002). Many men featured in Cassidy have strong opinions about women racing, including a bloodstock agent, who claims…show more content…
Next to this, in the social aspect mares are also often treated as inferior. While there is no real concrete difference in the racing abilities of male and female horses, there is a clear preference towards male horses. Research shows that male horses are more cautious of unknown situations and female horses are more eager to explore, making them more manageable in unfamiliar settings (Wulf, 2013), but on the matter of speed or strength the difference between mares and stallions is negligible (McClelland, 2010). In The Sport of Kings Cassidy describes the bias towards male horses. In chapter 8 she cites a letter from the Racing Post that “epitomises the tendency to apply human categories, properties and emotions to horses,” for example when it comes to gender differences. The letter

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