File(s) under permanent embargo
Sexy women sports fans: femininity, sexuality, and the global sport spectacle
journal contributionposted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kim ToffolettiKim Toffoletti
In recent years the relationship between women and sport fandom has undergone significant shifts. The rapidly changing sphere of global sport is seen to offer women newly visible roles in the global sport economy as fans, broadcasters, celebrity athletes, and media personalities. In light of calls for greater inclusivity and diversity in sport, this paper examines the emergence of new forms of “sexually empowered” female fandom, which situate women as active participants in the sporting spectacle. Whereas sexy women who followed men’s sport or male athletes were once derided as “groupies,” thus socially marginalised and excluded from identification with sport fan communities, I argue that the sexy sport fan has emerged in the context of post-feminism as a visible and necessary type of feminine fan identity to meet the needs of the global sport economy. This study extends feminist sport media analysis beyond its focus on how female athletes are represented whilst also contributing new insights to sport fan research by analysing how female supporters are constructed through mediated accounts in terms of gender, sexuality, and nation.