Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture

By Andrei S. Markovits; Lars Rensmann | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
A SILENT “FEMINIZATION” OF GLOBAL

SPORTS CULTURES? WDMEN AS SDCCER PLAYERS IN EURDPE
AND AMERICA

We are well aware that the conventional term 'feminization” of a profession not only entails the increased presence of women in it but the concomitant departure of men from it, thus often leading to its diminished prestige and status. In the case of all sports, the growing entrance and participation of women since the early 1970s is nothing short of revolutionary. Women's boxing, for example, became a medal sport at the 2012 Olympics, with wrestling, present at the Olympics since 2004, having attained the status of a veritable old-timer. We doubt, however, that this development has led to a diminution of the prestige and status of male sports. Oddly though, the fear of such a loss is pervasive and many men resent what they perceive as women's encroachment on what some men consider one of their last uncontested domains: sports.

The revolutionary influx of women into the world of sports pertains mainly to performing and producing them; however, in terms of talking sports, the traditional gender divide remains immense, with the consumption of sports still largely a male domain.1 As we argue in the beginning of

1In an empirical study of women sports fans, Gillian Lee Warmflash demonstrates power-
fully how women speak sports differently than men. See Gillian Lee Warmflash, “In a Differ-
ent Language: Female Sports Fans in America” (Senior Honors Thesis, The Committee on
Degrees in Social Studies, Harvard University, 2004). This is corroborated in a study of men
and women among athletes and nonathletes at the University of Michigan. Indeed, the gen-

-157-

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