From women’s social tennis to marathons and triathlon: Interrogating the sporting narratives of two pre-title IX women, Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion

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Abstract

Believing that they had interesting stories to tell, Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion set out in 2013 to write a dual memoir that documented the expansion of their sporting experiences as American women who had grown up, studied, and started families before the passing of Title IX. Much can be learned from the resultant memoir manuscripts. By considering the processes of selective remembering and forgetting apparent in the memoirs, this paper positions the memoirs as constructed narratives. What they had to share neither represented a celebration of change nor stories that might be summed up tritely in terms of empowerment. Instead, this paper proposes that the original memoir manuscripts authored by Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion provide evidence that change in women’s sports in the second half of the twentieth century resulted, at least in part, from a vast array of personal choices and actions, negotiated, and pursued with determination every day. For Dorion and Callahan, the inevitability of change and its permanence were not guaranteed and the memoirs themselves might be viewed as an expression of their continued commitment to the long-term goal of sporting equality for women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-605
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2018

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narrative
empowerment
equality
Sports
twentieth century
commitment
evidence
Tennis
Memoir
experience
Manuscripts

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title = "From women’s social tennis to marathons and triathlon: Interrogating the sporting narratives of two pre-title IX women, Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion",
abstract = "Believing that they had interesting stories to tell, Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion set out in 2013 to write a dual memoir that documented the expansion of their sporting experiences as American women who had grown up, studied, and started families before the passing of Title IX. Much can be learned from the resultant memoir manuscripts. By considering the processes of selective remembering and forgetting apparent in the memoirs, this paper positions the memoirs as constructed narratives. What they had to share neither represented a celebration of change nor stories that might be summed up tritely in terms of empowerment. Instead, this paper proposes that the original memoir manuscripts authored by Celeste Callahan and Dottie Dorion provide evidence that change in women’s sports in the second half of the twentieth century resulted, at least in part, from a vast array of personal choices and actions, negotiated, and pursued with determination every day. For Dorion and Callahan, the inevitability of change and its permanence were not guaranteed and the memoirs themselves might be viewed as an expression of their continued commitment to the long-term goal of sporting equality for women.",
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