Gendered performances and identity construction among UK female soccer players and netballers: a comparative study

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This paper examines the gendered performances and identity construction of UK female University soccer players and netballers (n = 31). Focus group interviews explored their sporting experiences with reference to body perceptions, and perceptions of their sporting bodies outside sporting contexts. Three themes resulted from data analysis, these being; (1) UK culture, body performances and femininity, (2) sporting culture, body performances and femininity and (3) transiency of body satisfaction across sport and non-sport contexts. Findings suggest that sport may not always provide an opportunity to challenge and resist dominant discourses. In both netball and soccer, a range of surveillance and management practices were used that served to perpetuate the value of a ‘feminine’ and assumed heterosexual body, and legitimize their sport participation through an emphasis on a hyper-femininity. The influence of sport subcultures on gendered performances and identity construction, along with implications for marketing sports participation to women are discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1147
JournalSport in Society
Issue number7
Early online date4 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


    Research areas

  • Body image, body performance, masculine, feminine, transiency

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