Gender, Bodies, and Emotions
This chapter examines the gender, emotional, and embodied dimensions of surfboard making. As an extension of U.S. and Australian surfing subculture, the surfboard industry is highly gendered, employing more men than women for manual work. Yet surfboard workshops are settings that require highly tuned embodied skills: a fine sense of feel, keen eye for detail, ability to relate with customers and materialize designs that match their expectations. Surfboard makers work in informal, subcultural settings. They become emotionally attached to the work, lifestyles, and social life from employment in the industry. Drawing on interviews with individual board makers as well as their personal stories, this chapter discusses the ways in which emotion, bodies, and gender converge in the process of surfboard making. It considers the emotional rewards of making surfboards as well as the health effects of hand making surfboards. It shows that the surfboard industry is not only about commerce but also about social relations, networks, and friendships.
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