1st Edition

The Feminization of Sports Fandom A Sociological Study

By Stacey Pope Copyright 2017
    280 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Women fans have entered the traditionally male domain of the sports stadium in growing numbers in recent years. Watching professional sport is important for women for so many reasons, but their expectations and experiences have been largely ignored by academics. This book tackles these shortcomings in the literature and sheds new light on the many ways in which women become sports fans.  

    This groundbreaking study is the first to focus on the phenomenon of the feminization of sports fandom. Including original research on football and rugby union in the UK, it looks at the increasing opportunities for women to become sports fans in contemporary society and critically examines the way this form of leisure is valued by women. Drawing upon feminist thinking and intersectionality, it shows how women from different social classes and age groups consume the spectacle of sport.

    This book is fascinating reading for any student or scholar interested in sport and leisure studies, sociology and gender or women’s studies.

    1. Introduction

    2. Women’s Changing Leisure Lives

    3. Changes in Professional Sport and the Feminization of Sports Fandom

    4. Continuity and Change in the Lives of Female Sports Fans

    5. Women, Sport and a Sense of Place

    6. Rivalry and Class Distinction between Female Football and Rugby Union Fans

    7. The Meaning and Importance of Sport for Female Fans

    8. Conclusion

    Appendix: Research Participants


    Stacey Pope is Senior Lecturer in Sport in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, UK.

    ‘When former footballer player Alan Hudson titled his autobiography ‘The Working Man’s Ballet’, he interestingly challenged long-held intellectual prejudices that exclude sports from being regarded as akin to other forms of culture. But in prompting this reconsideration, his title highlighted the gendered history of association football (soccer) in which its appreciative audience is presumed to be constituted only of men. Stacey Pope’s ground-breaking scholarship attempts to ‘settle the account’ of this history by giving women their voice as fans, which has been largely neglected and, therefore, effectively silenced. Importantly, her approach, drawing on theories of intersectionality, examines female fandom in regard to the interrelations of gender, class, sexuality and regional identity. The Feminization of Sports Fandom is a book of interest not only to the academic field of sports studies, but also to scholars and students in areas such as sociology, cultural studies and the history of popular culture.’ – John Hughson, Professor of Sport and Cultural Studies and Director of the International Football Institute, University of Central Lancashire, UK

    'Stacey Pope’s groundbreaking monograph, The Feminization of Sports Fandom, is a timely contribution, and provides an important and valuable extension to our understanding of fandom ... Its accessible format and interdisciplinary approach – foci on gender inequality, sport’s class divide and the impact of globalization on professional sport – mean that it will be of significant interest to social scientists, particularly those with an interest in gender studies.' - Rory Magrath, Southampton Solent University, International Review for the Sociology of Sport

    'This book provides an extensive socio-historical exploration of female sports fans and fills a gap in the area of fan research. The book is relevant for scholars and students alike. Pope has provided ideas which it is hoped will be tested and extended and build upon this excellent piece of research.' - Alex Colvin, University of Central Lancashire, Leisure Studies