“I Just Don’t Wanna Deal With the Headache of People Fighting Over the Internet”: A Study of Sponsored Female Climbers’ Digital Labor

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia
  • | 2 School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia
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Drawing on data from a qualitative study of sponsored and professional female climbers, this article offers a timely examination of the digital labor undertaken by women seeking to forge identities and livelihoods in sport. Female climbers are increasingly turning to social media to generate visibility and sponsorship opportunities in response to the changing social and commercial imperatives of sport, yet the perspective of participants is lacking in existing academic research. The theoretical framework of “athletic labor of femininity” is deployed to explore sportswomen’s decision making when producing social media content. This study departs from previous investigations by considering the sociotechnical aspects of platform algorithms in female climbers’ efforts to remain visible online, and attempts to avoid controversy that can deter followers.

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