‘If they’re caked in make-up I just laugh’: Girls’ and women’s football and the apologetic turn

Pielichaty, Hanya (2018) ‘If they’re caked in make-up I just laugh’: Girls’ and women’s football and the apologetic turn. In: Women in Sport and Exercise Conference,, 14th June 2018, University of Staffordshire.

Full content URL: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/events/womeninsport/

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Football has long been woven into Britain’s cultural tapestry as a ‘men’s sport’ and women have been fighting for over a century to have their sport recognised on an equal basis. This study explores what football means to the girls and women who play with a particular emphasis on body, beauty and image. A critical feminist approach was used to enable participants’ voices to be heard above the ‘noise’ of stereotypes about the suitability and appropriateness of women and girls to football. During the 2013/14 football season, ethnographic research was conducted at a Centre of Excellence and in a secondary school. Conversations and focus groups with players and family members took place in conjunction with fieldwork observations. Conversational interviews were also conducted with family members in their homes. Over 120 informants took part in the research. Models were adopted from socio-psychology to unearth how identities were negotiated within and outside of football spaces. The findings demonstrated that players were unapologetic about their participation and enjoyment of football and in a departure from previous research, were critical of overt displays of femininity for fear it would jeopardise the credibility of the women’s game. This was termed the Apologetic Turn. Emphasised feminine displays were associated with weaker footballing ability and were heavily scrutinised and denounced by other players. This study has implications for policy and strategy with regards to the ‘packaging’ of new football initiatives and raises concerns about the seriousness of the sport being diluted amidst a rhetoric of participation and inclusivity.

Keywords:Football, Girls, Women, Beauty, Cosmetics
Subjects:L Social studies > L390 Sociology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:32518
Deposited On:03 Sep 2018 15:00

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