Expendable Young Males

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Surf lifesaving in Australia is an iconic community volunteer service. Surf lifesaving members must attain their bronze medallion, which includes fundamental first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques in order to patrol the beaches. Each year thousands of rescues and first aid procedures are conducted on the beaches of Australia as volunteer patrolling surf lifesavers carry out their community service. However, there is a sport attached to this community service, which has arguably become the ‘face’ of surf lifesaving in Australia. Some athletes are professional, and others gain a range of sponsorships. Many others are juniors and Masters competitors. The national championships each year draw anywhere between 5000 and 8000 competitors and spectators. Not without its critics, the masculinised nature of surf lifesaving has come under scrutiny in the past (Booth, 2001). Significantly, this is a paper about young males and the way in which masculinity is socially constructed within both a sporting and broader social and cultural context. It is also a paper that challenges the way in which the male body is endorsed, perceived, and used in a utilitarian manner from boyhood through to early male adulthood, across a range of settings thereby creating a normalised conception of the male body throughout life. Using surf lifesaving as vehicle through which young males can be explored, it identifies the role of sport in the creation of this normalisation and specifically highlights, through an autoethnographic account, the expectation placed on young males within the masculinised sporting setting of surf lifesaving in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number1
Early online date19 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Masculinity
  • Sport
  • autoethnography
  • young males
  • Surf Lifesaving
  • surf lifesaving
  • sport


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