Doing gender on and off the pitch: the world of female football Players

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13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The following paper looks at the experiences of female football (soccer) players at a College of Higher Education in the South of England. Association Football occupies a special place in English society where it has traditionally been linked to notions of toughness, manliness and hegemonic masculinity. The last decade has witnessed expedient growth in the number of women playing football and this has led to much debate related to the positioning of the game in contemporary society.

Data was collected through an ethnographic approach utilizing observation and semi-structured interviews. Through their very participation in the game the women can be seen to be challenging notions of male hegemony. However their acceptance of the male game as being more important, and their adopting of discourse and ideologies emanating from the male model of the sport, means that they are also colluding in the (re)production of masculine hegemony.

For the women in this study, of central importance to the development of a female footballing identity are issues surrounding sexual orientation within the football world. Women's football in England suffers from an ‘image problem’ which can and does lead to tension both on and off the pitch. This paper explores how these women make sense of their own involvement in the game and how they negotiate the contested ideological terrains surrounding femininity, masculinity and sexual orientation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages12
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

Keywords

  • women's football
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • hegemony

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