“I Do Worry That Football Will Become Over-Feminized”: Ambiguities in Fan Reflections on the Gender Order in Men’s Professional Football in the United Kingdom

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This article draws on the responses of 2,347 football fans (male = 83.4%; female = 16.6%) collected via an online survey from September 2015 to January 2016 regarding the position of women (as fans, coaches, referees, journalists, board members, and administrators) in the gender order in men’s professional association football in the United Kingdom. Engaging with the theoretical framework of hegemonic masculinity, the authors addressed two recurring themes emerging from the results: the exclusionary practices of sexism and subordination aimed at women in men’s football and the extent to which women are regarded as “authentic” fans, given the gender inequalities and power imbalances they face in their practice of fandom in men’s football. The article concludes by suggesting that, although there are emerging “progressive” male attitudes toward women in men’s football, hegemonic and complicit masculinities remain a significant feature in the culture of fandom in men’s professional football in the United Kingdom.

Cleland is with the School of Management, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia. Pope is with Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom. Williams is with the University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom.

Address correspondence to Jamie Cleland at jamie.cleland@unisa.edu.au.
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