One of the Boys: The (Gendered) Performance of My Football Career

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Symons, Kasey (2019) One of the Boys: The (Gendered) Performance of My Football Career. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This PhD via creative work comprises an exegesis (30%) and accompanying novel, Fan Fatale (70%), which seek to contribute a creative and considered representation of some women who are fans of elite male sports, Australian Rules football in particular. Fictional representations of Australian Rules football are rare. At the time of submission of this thesis, only three such works were found that are written by women aimed to an older readership. This project adds to this underrepresented space for women writing on, and contributing their experiences to, the culture of men’s football. The exegesis and novel creatively addresses the research question of how female fans relate to other women in the sports fan space through concepts of gender bias, performance, and social surveillance. Applying the lens of autoethnography as the primary methodology to examine these notions further allows a deeper, reflexive engagement with the research, to explore how damaging these performances can be for the relationships women can have to other women. In producing this exegesis and accompanying novel, this PhD thesis contributes a new and creative way to explore the gendered complications that surround the sports fan space for women. My novel, Fan Fatale, provides a narrative which raises questions about the complicit positions women can sometimes occupy in the name of fandom and conformity to expected gendered norms. The exegesis deploys the practice of autoethnographic, practice-led reflexive writing to grapple with academic and popular accounts of female sports fans that also engage with complications of these experiences. A particular focus is placed on how inherent gender bias and social surveillance influences how women are perceived in the sports fan space by not just men, but other women. This is additionally reinforced in literature and popular culture that is addressed in this work. The exegesis and novel provide an important contribution to the knowledge concerning female sports fans. It is only from representing the varied, intersectional complexities of this arena that women enter unequally, that we can learn how to make it a more even playing field. This work provides an approach to the research question that is nuanced and investigative and offers a way to open up conversations that bring women back into the few sports literature narratives that we have to work towards achieving this goal.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords women; fans; sports; Australian Rules Football; gender bias; social surveillance; autoethnography
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