While women are increasingly becoming vested fans of men’s football, baseball, hockey, and basketball, the perceived barriers—sociological, psychological and practical—to watching women’s sports still appear formidable for many female fans. The purpose of this study was to investigate the lack of female consumption of women’s sport through the voices and perspectives of female spectators of men’s sport. Based on interviews with female season ticket holders of men’s collegiate basketball who had not attended women’s basketball games for at least 5 years, the most robust theme to emerge was the profound male influence in the spectator lives of women. This influence was a lifelong phenomenon spanning generations, beginning with grandfathers and brothers and continuing through husbands and sons. Other factors combined with this strong influence to block participants’ consumption of women’s sport. These include a lack of awareness and access to women’s sport and the existence of socializing agents who empasized and prioritized male leisure interests.
Annemarie Farrell, Janet S. Fink, and Sarah Fields
Janet S. Fink, John F. Borland, and Sarah K. Fields
Critical analysis of media coverage is vital as scholars have long suggested that what the media choose to cover and how they choose to cover it have incredible influence on audience perceptions. Therefore, how the media cover negative incidents and sexist comments relative to women in sport can illuminate the manner in which they reinforce or challenge the hegemonic nature of sport. This study critically examined the media’s reaction to 5 specific sexist incidents in sport from 2004 to 2007 and the reactions of the perpetrators themselves and their defenders as represented in the media. Articles (N = 278) covering the incidents from 5 large newspapers representing different areas of the United States were analyzed. Results indicated that there were 4 strategies of apologia (i.e., denial, bolstering, transcendence, and differentiation), and 2 other themes, silence and marginalized sexism, emerged. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.
Sarah K. Fields and R. Dawn Comstock
Rugby, a fast-paced, aggressive contact sport, has a high incidence of injury. This study examines why US women play rugby given the social stigma surrounding women’s participation in sports in general, particularly contact sports, and despite the high risk of injury. In a survey of their injury history and potential injury risk factors, 339 female rugby players from 14 teams of varied quality and levels of play from a wide geographic area in the United States were asked why they played the sport. Their responses indicate that women play rugby because they enjoy the game, they like the aggressive aspects of the sport, they appreciate the social aspects of the game, and they believe the sport provides them with positive benefits, such as increased fitness, confidence, and strength. The results of this study indicate that many women are willing to risk injury for the positive rewards that they associate with rugby.