Australian Muslim women and fitness choices – myths debunked

Article


Summers, Jane, Hassan, Rumman, Ong, Derek and Hossain, Munir. 2018. "Australian Muslim women and fitness choices – myths debunked." Journal of Services Marketing. 32 (5), pp. 605-615. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-07-2017-0261
Article Title

Australian Muslim women and fitness choices – myths debunked

ERA Journal ID19839
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSummers, Jane (Author), Hassan, Rumman (Author), Ong, Derek (Author) and Hossain, Munir (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Services Marketing
Journal Citation32 (5), pp. 605-615
Number of Pages11
Year2018
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0887-6045
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-07-2017-0261
Web Address (URL)https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JSM-07-2017-0261
Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper was to better understand the underrepresentation of Muslim women living in Australia in physical activity and in group-fitness classes in particular. The authors contend that the Australian fitness industry has ignored the needs of this group through stereotypical islamophobic views focusing on religious dictates as the prime barrier for participation of this group. This study debunks this myth showing that motivations for exercise are complex and multi-faceted.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted interviews and a focus group with 27 Muslim women living in Australia. Through this method, the authors explored the role of religiosity and national culture in attitudes towards participation in exercise, gym attendance and group fitness classes.

Findings – The authors confirmed that while religion impacted the form and place of exercise options, it did not impact the overall motivation to engage in exercise. This study found that group-fitness classes offered by gyms did not particularly appeal to this group of women, partially due to their religion (this form of exercise being too aggressive and immodest) and partially due to their ethnic background. Exercise options that were more social were favoured. The authors found that notions of femininity and culturally embedded expectations for the role of women were more powerful predictors of exercise engagement and choice of exercise type.

Research limitations/implications – This research is exploratory in nature and as such its findings are restricted to the small sample. To extend this study’s implications, a larger empirical study should be conducted and needs to also consider the intersection between national culture and religiosity on decision-making.

Practical implications – This study has practical implications for the fitness industry attempting to attractive new markets in a multi-cultural population. To attract Muslim women, gyms and fitness centres need to consider providing appropriate areas for women to exercise that allow them to maintain their modesty. To attract this segment, fitness products that are focused on a holistic approach to wellness and highlight opportunities for social interaction should be developed. Focusing on this group as a market segment needs to include a broader contextualisation of their lifestyles and individual situations and should not just focus on their religion.

Social implications – The requirements of the Muslim religion for women to adopt conservative dress and to avoid contact with men do hinder their ability and also their desire to exercise to maintain a healthy mind and body. Many of these women would like to exercise but find it difficult to find the right settings and form of exercise that suits their needs. Engaging in exercise with others is also an important way for these women to integrate into their communities and to assimilate with the national culture.

Originality/value – This research is original in that it is one of the first to explore attitudes of Muslim women towards exercise and group-fitness classes in Australia. In particular, it includes an examination of the impact of religiosity on motivations and attitudes towards fitness and is the first to consider the relationship between religion, ethnic background and notions of femininity in the context of fitness. The influence of religiosity is an area heavily impacted by cultural bias and stereotyping,and it is therefore important for a deeper understanding of this issue in the services domain.

Keywordsreligiosity, body image, fitness, Muslim women
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350602. Consumer-oriented product or service development
350699. Marketing not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Enterprise
Sunway University, Malaysia
Western Sydney University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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Volkov, Michael, Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Summers, Jane. 2008. "The role of nostalgia in determining consumers' sport team identification." James, Jeffrey, Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa (ed.) 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Bridging the Gap: Bringing the World Down Under 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference (SMA 2008). Gold Coast, Australia 17 - 19 Jul 2008 Toowoomba, Australia.
Determination of the financial return on marketing investment for sports events in Canada
Johnson Morgan, Melissa, Seaton, Sheilagh and Summers, Jane. 2008. "Determination of the financial return on marketing investment for sports events in Canada." James, Jeffrey, Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa (ed.) 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Bridging the Gap: Bringing the World Down Under 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference (SMA 2008). Gold Coast, Australia 17 - 19 Jul 2008 Toowoomba, Australia.
Packaging exploitation in fast moving consumer goods:consumer processing of sponsorship messages
Woodside, Frances and Summers, Jane. 2008. "Packaging exploitation in fast moving consumer goods:consumer processing of sponsorship messages." 2008 Global Marketing Conference: Marketing in the Dynamic Global World. Shanghai, China 20 - 23 Mar 2008 Gyeongnam, Republic of Korea.
The effect of the category of sport team on the role of nostalgia in an individual supporter's psychological connection to that sport team
Volkov, Michael, Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2008. "The effect of the category of sport team on the role of nostalgia in an individual supporter's psychological connection to that sport team." Spanjaard, Daniela, Denize, Sara and Sharma, Neeru (ed.) ANZMAC 2008: Shifting the Focus from Mainstream to Offbeat. Sydney, Australia 01 - 03 Dec 2008 Australia.
More than just the media: considering the role of public relations in the creation of sporting celebrity and the management of fan expectations
Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2008. "More than just the media: considering the role of public relations in the creation of sporting celebrity and the management of fan expectations." Public Relations Review. 34 (2), pp. 176-182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2008.03.014
An exploratory study of Australian agribusiness organisations and their selection of e-business models for conducting B2B e-commerce
Ng, Eric, Lawley, Meredith and Summers, Jane. 2004. "An exploratory study of Australian agribusiness organisations and their selection of e-business models for conducting B2B e-commerce." 2004 Inaugural Academy of World Business, Marketing and Management Development Conference: The Challenge of Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives & Globalization in the 21st Century . Gold Coast, Australia 13 - 16 Jul 2004 Perth, Australia.
Which B2B e-business model: the case of Australian agribusiness organisations
Ng, Eric, Lawley, Meredith and Summers, Jane. 2003. "Which B2B e-business model: the case of Australian agribusiness organisations." Geursen, G., Kennedy, R. and Tolo, M. (ed.) ANZMAC 2003: Celebration of Ehrenberg and Bass: Marketing Discoveries, Knowledge and Contribution. Adelaide, Australia 01 - 03 Dec 2003 Melbourne, Australia.
Understanding consumer responses to special event entertainment (SEE) in shopping centres
Sit, Jason, Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Summers, Jane. 2006. "Understanding consumer responses to special event entertainment (SEE) in shopping centres." Yu, Chian Son and Wang, Chih Chien (ed.) 2006 International Conference on Business and Information (BAI 2006). Singapore 12 - 14 Jul 2006 Taiwan.
Sponsorship leveraging improves consumer attitudes and purchase intentions towards the sponsoring brand - but is it relevant for FMCG packaging?
Woodside, Frances M., Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2007. "Sponsorship leveraging improves consumer attitudes and purchase intentions towards the sponsoring brand - but is it relevant for FMCG packaging?" Thyne, Maree, Deans, Kenneth R. and Gnoth, Juergen (ed.) ANZMAC 2007: 3Rs Reputation, Responsibility and Relevance: Doctoral Colloquium Writing Workshop. Dunedin, New Zealand 30 Nov - 02 Dec 2007 Dunedin, New Zealand.
Evoking the past: exploring nostalgia's relevance to sport consumption
McColl-Kennedy, Janet, Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2001. "Evoking the past: exploring nostalgia's relevance to sport consumption." Tidwell, Paula M. and Muller, Thomas E. (ed.) Association for Consumer Research 2000 Asia Pacific Conference. Gold Coast, Australia 16 - 18 Mar 2000 Provo, UT. United States.
Consumer construction of sport consumption experiences through role play: a literature review
Volkov, Michael, Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Summers, Jane. 2007. "Consumer construction of sport consumption experiences through role play: a literature review." James, Jeffrey D. (ed.) 4th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Sport Marketing Across the Spectrum: Research from Emerging, Developing and Established Sholars (SMA 2006). Denver, Colorado 04 - 06 Nov 2006 Morganstown, VA.
The effect of sponsorship endorsed packaging on consumer attitudes: a conceptual enquiry
Woodside, Frances M., Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2006. "The effect of sponsorship endorsed packaging on consumer attitudes: a conceptual enquiry." Ali, Yunus and van Dessel, Maria (ed.) ANZMAC 2006: Advancing Theory, Maintaining Relevance. Brisbane Australia 04 - 06 Dec 2006 Brisbane, Australia.
The impact of parental style on sports consumption preferences of teenagers: an exploratory investigation in the Asia Pacific region
Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2006. "The impact of parental style on sports consumption preferences of teenagers: an exploratory investigation in the Asia Pacific region." Asian Journal of Marketing (National University of Singapore). 12 (1), pp. 23-34.
The impact of structure on marketing success in Australian Rules Football clubs
Johnson Morgan, Melissa, Summers, Jane and West, Kristy. 2006. "The impact of structure on marketing success in Australian Rules Football clubs." Fullerton, Sam and Moore, David (ed.) International Conference of the Academy of Business Administration (2005). Prague, Czech Republic 03 - 07 Aug 2005 Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
Sports consumption behaviour among generation Y in mainland China
Johnson Morgan, Melissa, Summers, Jane and Jocumsen, Graham. 2006. "Sports consumption behaviour among generation Y in mainland China." Fullerton, Sam and Moore, David (ed.) International Conference of the Academy of Business Administration (2006). Munich, Germany 16 - 20 Aug 2006 Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
Sponsorship of fast moving consumer goods - does packaging endorsement contribute to brand attitude?
Woodside, Frances M., Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2006. "Sponsorship of fast moving consumer goods - does packaging endorsement contribute to brand attitude?" Fullerton, Sam and Moore, David (ed.) International Conference of the Academy of Business Administration (2006). Munich, Germany 16 - 20 Aug 2006 Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
Factors influencing consumer intentions to purchase seasonally discounted athletic footware in Thailand
Summers, Jane, Lorterapong, Atasit and Johnson Morgan, Melissa. 2006. "Factors influencing consumer intentions to purchase seasonally discounted athletic footware in Thailand." Fullerton, Sam and Moore, David (ed.) International Conference of the Academy of Business Administration (2006). Munich, Germany 16 - 20 Aug 2006 Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
Defining consumer responses to special event entertainment (SEE): key constructs and propositions
Sit, Jason, Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Summers, Jane. 2006. "Defining consumer responses to special event entertainment (SEE): key constructs and propositions." Ali, Yunus and van Dessel, Maria (ed.) ANZMAC 2006: Advancing Theory, Maintaining Relevance. Brisbane Australia 04 - 06 Dec 2006 Brisbane, Australia.
Teenage motivations for sport related consumption in Australia
Summers, Jane, Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Kanoyangwa, Ranganai. 2007. "Teenage motivations for sport related consumption in Australia." Pitts, Brenda G. (ed.) 3rd Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Sport Marketing in the New Millennium (SMA 2005). Tempe, Arizona 10 - 12 Nov 2005 Morgantown, WV. United States.