Gender Performances of Sports Organization Leaders: A Comparative (Re)Examination of Alice Milliat’s, Suzanne Lenglen’s and Marie-Thérèse Eyquem’s Trajectories

  • Florys Castan-Vicente
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Sport and Politics book series (PASSP)


This chapter questions the process of involvement of three French personalities: Alice Milliat (1884–1957), Suzanne Lenglen (1899–1938) and Marie-Thérèse Eyquem (1913–1978). Two of them are known for their involvement in national and international women’s sport organizations, and one is well known for her competitive career, but was also the founder and director of a mixed tennis school in her late career (since 1936). What were their motives of involvement? Why did they decide to stop, or never develop, competitive sport for themselves, and turn to organization for others? Were they moved by militant, feminist motives? With an intersectional perspective, the answers to these questions take in consideration their social class, their sexualities, and the way that they appropriated, or rejected, gender norms.


  1. Bauer, Thomas. La sportive dans la littérature française des années folles. Villeneuve-d’Ascq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2011.Google Scholar
  2. Bard, Christine. Les Filles de Marianne: histoire des féminismes 1914–1940. Paris: Fayard, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Bard, Christine. “Le lesbianisme comme construction politique.” In Éliane Gubin, Catherine Jacques, Florence Rochefort, et al., eds., Le Siècle des féminismes, 111–26. Paris: Éditions de l’Atelier/Éditions Ouvrières, 2004.Google Scholar
  4. Bard, Christine. Les Femmes et le pouvoir, Introduction : Pour une histoire des femmes d’État., 2007.
  5. Bard, Christine, ed. Dictionnaire des féministes. France XVIIIe-XXIe siècle. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2017.Google Scholar
  6. Barker-Ruchti, Natalie, Karin Grahn, and Claes Annerstedt. “Moving Towards Inclusion: An Analysis of Photographs from the 1926 Women’s Games in Gothenburg.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 30, no. 8 (2013): 871-91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bayle, Emmanuel, and Patrick Clastres, eds. Global Sport Leaders: A Biographical Analysis of International Sport Management. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.Google Scholar
  8. Bonnet, Marie-Josèphe. Violette Morris: histoire d’une scandaleuse. Paris: Perrin, 2011.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, Pierre. La Distinction: critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Ed de Minuit, 1992.Google Scholar
  10. Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge, 1993.Google Scholar
  11. Caine, Barbara. “Feminist Biography and Feminist History.” Women’s History Review 3, no. 2 (1994): 247–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carpentier, Florence. “Alice Milliat: A Feminist Pioneer for Women’s Sport.” In Emmanuel Bayle and Patrick Clastres, eds., Global Sport Leaders: A Biographical Analysis of International Sport Management. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carpentier, Florence, and Philippe Lefèvre. “The Modern Olympic Movement, Women’s Sport and the Social Order During the Interwar Period.” The International Journal of the History of Sports 23, no. 7 (2006): 1112–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Castan-Vicente, Florys. Marie-Thérèse Eyquem. Du sport à la politique. Parcours d’une féministe. Paris: OURS, 2009.Google Scholar
  15. Castan-Vicente, Florys. “Suzanne Lenglen et la définition du professionnalisme dans le tennis de l’entre-deux-guerres.” Le Mouvement Social 1, no. 254 (2016): 87–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Castan-Vicente, Florys. “International Intellectual Exchanges, Women and Sports: The International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women Between 1949 and the 1970s.” Sport in History 37, no. 3 (2017): 353–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clastres, Patrick, and Paul Dietschy, eds. Paume et tennis en France: XVe-XXe siècle. Paris: Nouveau Monde, 2009.Google Scholar
  18. Drevon, André. Alice Milliat. La pasionaria du sport féminin. Paris: Vuibert, 2005.Google Scholar
  19. Edmonds, Jill. “Princess Hamlet.” In Vivien Gardner and Rutherford Susan, eds., The New Woman and Her Sisters: Feminism and Theatre, 1850–1914. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992.Google Scholar
  20. Formaglio, Cécile. “Féministe d’abord”: Cécile Brunschvicg (1877–1946). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2014.Google Scholar
  21. Hall, Ann. Sport and Gender: A Feminist Perspective on the Sociology of Sport. Ottawa: Canadian Association for Health Physical Education and Recreation, 1978.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, Ann, and Gertrud Pfister. Honoring the Legacy: Fifty Years of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women. Nanaimo: IAPESGW, 1999.Google Scholar
  23. Hargreaves, Jennifer. Sporting Females: Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women’s Sport. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.Google Scholar
  24. Lasvergana, Isabelle. “Contexte de socialisation primaire et choix d’une carrière scientifique chez les femmes.” Recherches féministes 1, no. 1 (1988): 32–45.Google Scholar
  25. Leigh, Mary, and Thérèse Bonin. “The Pioneering Role of Madame Alice Milliat and the FSFI in Establishing International Trade (sic: Track) and Field Competition for Women.” Journal of Sport History 4 (1977): 72–83.Google Scholar
  26. Margadant, Jo Burr. The New Biography: Performing Femininity in Nineteenth-Century France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  27. Mennesson, Christine. “Les ‘sportives professionnelles’: travail du corps et division sexuée du travail.” Cahiers du Genre 1, no. 42 (2007): 19–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Michallat, Wendy. “Marie-Therese Eyquem: Feminism, Lesbianism and the Development of Women’s Sport Under Vichy.” Essays in French Literature and Culture 46 (2009): 161–81.Google Scholar
  29. Park, Roberta J. “‘All the Freedom of the Boy’: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Nineteenth-Century Architect of Women’s Rights.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 18, no. 1 (2001): 7–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pfister, Gertrud. “Her Story in Sport: Toward the Emancipation of Women.” In Pierre Arnaud and Thierry Terret, eds., Histoire du sport féminin, 213–28. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996.Google Scholar
  31. Pfister, Gertrud. “Breaking Bounds: Alice Profé, Radical and Emancipationist.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 18, no. 1 (2001): 98–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Prudhomme-Poncet, Laurence. Histoire du football féminin au XXe siècle. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2003.Google Scholar
  33. Quintillan, Ghislaine. “Alice Milliat and the Women’s Games.” Revue Olympique 26, no. 31 (2000): 27–28.Google Scholar
  34. Roberts, Mary Louise. “Acting Up: The Feminist Theatrics of Marguerite Durand.” French Historical Studies 19, no. 4 (1996): 1103–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sablik, Emilie, and Christine Mennesson. “Carrières sexuelles et pratiques sportives.” Sciences sociales et sport 1, no. 1 (2008): 79–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scott, Joan W. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” The American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (1986): 1053-75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scott, Joan W. Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  38. Skillen, Fiona, and Carol Osborne. “It’s Good to Talk: Oral History, Sports History and Heritage.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 32, no. 15 (2015): 1883–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Struna, Nancy L. “Beyond Mapping Experience: The Need for Understanding in the History of American Sporting Women.” Journal of Sport History 11, no. 1 (1984): 120–33.Google Scholar
  40. Struna, Nancy L. “Gender and Sporting Practice in Early America, 1750–1810.” Journal of Sport History 18, no. 1 (1991): 10–30.Google Scholar
  41. Tétard, Philippe. “Champion androgyne, combattante et danseuse. Portrait flou de Suzanne Lenglen (1913–1923).” International Review on Sport and Violence 8 (2014): 63–82.Google Scholar
  42. Terret, Thierry. “From Alice Milliat to Marie-Thérèse Eyquem: Revisiting Women’s Sport in France (1920s–1960s).” International Journal of the History of Sport 27, no. 7 (2010): 1154–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ziggi, Alexander. “Let It Lie Upon the Table: The Status of Black Women’s Biography in the UK.” Gender & History 2, no. 1 (1990): 22–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar



Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florys Castan-Vicente
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Paris 1 Panthéon SorbonneParisFrance
  2. 2.University of Paris-SudOrsayFrance

Personalised recommendations