Mewett, Peter and Toffoletti, Kim 2008, Voices from the margins? Women at the footy., in ASA, ASAANZ and AAS 2008 : Ownership & Appropriation : Conference Programme and Book of Abstracts, Association of Social Anthropologists, [Auckland, N.Z.], pp. 1-11.
ASA, ASAANZ and AAS 2008 : Ownership & Appropriation : Conference Programme and Book of Abstracts
Association of Social Anthropologists
Place of publication
Based on focus group and single person interviews with women Australian rules football (AFL) supporters this paper explores the issue of how women articulate their support of a male dominated sport. We demonstrate that women supporters (widely overlooked in studies of sports) express their support of AFL with as much power and passion as is credited to male supporters. Moreover, women have formed about a half of AFL at-ground spectators for over a century with the historical record suggesting that the passion of their support was no less then than now. Yet to what extent have women supporters emerged from the metaphorical margins of AFL to appropriate distinctive spaces in their consumption of this sport? Using their voices and accounts of their at-ground actions, we argue that women fans perform an appropriation of supporting practice that is clearly gendered - in being a feminine discourse of support constructed by women - while giving the appearance of being genderless through their appropriation of discursive frames to legitimate their support of a male dominated sport. We conclude that in consuming football women fans perform doxic actions that reproduce, in leisure spaces, wider processes of gender inequality while, in a contradictory manner, contesting them through the appropriation of their own places in these spaces.