Women's experiences of gender and sexuality within football contexts in England and Wales

Caudwell, Jayne Clare (2001) Women's experiences of gender and sexuality within football contexts in England and Wales. Doctoral thesis, University of North London.

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Abstract / Description

"Football is not a woman's game, it's not a pastime for milksops and sissies, it's a man's game" Trevor Ford, 1957.

As the above quotation indicates football provides a site for the functioning of gender and sexuality. This thesis offers a detailed analysis of women's experiences of football, gender and sexuality.

The research consists of 437 completed questionnaires and 14 in-depth semi-structured interviews. Over half the women taking part in the questionnaire research have played for over 15 years. Of the 14 women interviewed (aged between 20-43 yrs.), 11 started playing when they were girls (under 14 yrs.). The findings demonstrate that informal play and the spaces within playgrounds and housing estates are central to the women's initial involvement. 75% of the questionnaire participants commit between 4-6 hours a week to playing and for the women interviewed playing exists as a normalised and routinised aspect of their lives.

That said, the findings expose the gender relations in football. The women have both shared and non-shared experience of the multi-layered policing of the football fields by the education system, officials, spectators, the media and through self-surveillance. The analysis illustrates how power is exercised and transmitted to discursively regulate gender and football. In addition through an exploration of football's sexual peremptory it is evident that hegemonic heterosexual relations to power are both reinforced and subverted. Lesbian presence and visibility inverts the sexual 'norm' and dykescapes represent, albeit transient, re-articulations of sexuality. Through an analysis of women's footballing bodies the research elucidates the inter-relationship between gender and sexuality. The findings indicate the regulatory practices that discipline .women's corporeality and the analysis considers the possibilities female masculinity offers for a re-materialisation of gender and the sexed body. The contribution this thesis offers is to the field of sports sociology. The research reflects an engagement with feminist epistemology and methodology and the analysis draws on poststructuralist theory. Herein lies a particular and located footballing epistemology.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.617027
Uncontrolled Keywords: women footballers; football; gender; sexuality
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 790 Recreational & performing arts
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2022 16:36
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2022 16:36
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7290

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